Asia Pacific Australia

Geelong readies for new convention centre

Local and federal government commit funds to boost regional business events in Victoria.

The regional city southwest of Melbourne is set to have its very own convention and exhibition centre, following an AU$355 million (US$251 million) deal with federal and state government to develop infrastructure in the city.

The Geelong City Deal includes AU$170 million to build a dedicated convention and exhibition centre that will be situated on what is currently a carpark at Deakin University’s waterfront campus.

Early plans indicate the convention centre will be capable of accommodating up to 1,000 plenary delegates, have 3,000 sqm of pillarless exhibition space, banquet facilities, meeting rooms, a business centre and retail outlets. A four-star, 200-key hotel adjoining the precinct has also been included in the plans.

The brand new convention and exhibition centre is fantastic news for the region,” Geelong convention bureau manager, Mark Day, says. “It will not only inject AU$50 million in economic impact annually to the region once operational, but it will also open us up to bid for larger pieces of business that we have previously not been able to.”

Other improvements to the region to be funded under the landmark Geelong City Deal include a revitalisation of central Geelong, upgrades to infrastructure along Great Ocean Road, and a new ferry terminal in Queenscliff to enhance services crossing Port Phillip Bay.

Business Events Victoria executive officer, Chris Porter, says the government’s funding commitment highlights the importance of the business events industry.

“Having a dedicated convention and exhibition centre in Geelong is paramount for continuing to grow regional Victoria’s share of this lucrative industry,” he says.