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MCEC a big winner in the state budget

14 May 2015

MCEC a big winner in the state budget Image

The Victorian State Government announced a $210m funding boost for the long-awaited expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) in its 2015-16 budget.

Stage two of the Southbank landmark’s expansion will ensure MCEC remains Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space.

The project will add thousands of square metres of new exhibition space, more multi-purpose space and links to the existing Melbourne Exhibition Centre and Melbourne Convention Centre.

It is estimated that the completion of stage two will result in an additional 74,000 international visitors annually, which is expected to generate a $167m boost to the Victorian economy.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren said the investment would help ensure that Victoria maintains its status as the events capital of Australia.

“Upgrading the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre means more floor space, more conventions, more overseas visitors and more jobs for Victorians,” he said.

“Major events keep our hotels full, our bars buzzing and our economy strong. No one does events quite like Victoria, but we can’t be complacent. We have to work hard to stay number one.”

MCEC Chief Executive Peter King welcomed the news and said the government would be working with Plenary and their partners to negotiate and finalise the proposed expansion master plan, with details to follow in the coming months.

Developers also received a boost in the budget, with the government allocating $1m of extra funding to work through the backlog of planning applications.

There are currently 26 central city permit applications under assessment within the department along with 150 planning scheme amendments, which are yet to be finalised.

The budget also provides $1m to shield the Yarra River against inappropriate development, which will see the introduction of the Yarra River Protection Bill.

A dedicated trust will be established to set out tough planning controls to preserve the future of the river and help it recover from 180 years of misuse.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the Bill would play a vital role in setting out clear rules around what can and cannot be built near the river and would draw on expert advice and public input.

“Measures to protect our heritage treasures and planning rules to stop inappropriate development are essential to protecting our state’s character,” he said.

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