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MCEC to expand

13 Nov 2014

MCEC to expand Image

The State Government has unveiled major plans for the proposed expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The proposal expands the South Wharf precinct footprint to include new retail space, additional car parks, a new hotel and more multi-purpose convention and exhibition facilities.

The announcement has been endorsed across the industry with the venue struggling to cater for increased demand due to a lack of available space.

In announcing the project alongside Premier Denis Napthine last month, Tourism Minister Louise Asher said discussions would now start with the centre’s owners, The Plenary Group, to establish the best way forward.

“Demand for the exhibition centre space means the centre is currently turning away around 20 per cent of business,” she said.

“These negotiations will allow Plenary an opportunity to put forward an expansion proposal to provide integrated services with an expanded exhibition centre.”

Premier Napthine said the proposal would provide a major boost to the Victorian economy.

“Business events generate economic benefits of around $1.2 billion each year to Victoria,” he said.

“Collectively, business events provide not only economic benefits but also the constant positioning and profiling of Victoria nationally and internationally. They drive tourism, employment, industry and business linkages.”

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust chairman Bob Annells welcomed the proposal as an initiative that would “significantly benefit the entire state.”

“The expansion business case has been in the pipeline with the Victorian State Government and stakeholders for some time and we are grateful for their support,” he said.

The centre’s CEO Peter King said the proposal would ensure MCEC continued to adapt to the changing business events industry and the global market.

“The development will enhance the flexibility of the whole precinct and ensure MCEC continues to deliver world-class event experiences,” he said.

MCEC recorded its most successful year in history during August, having hosted 1030 events, 1.5 million visitors and generating more than $274 million to the Victorian economy.

The Victorian State Government will be working with major shareholders to negotiate and finalise the proposed expansion master plan in the coming months.

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