Despite assurances from the NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner on Friday, the exhibition industry remains concerned over the deliver of interim exhibition facilities on Sydney’s Glebe Island.
Stoner reiterated the NSW Government’s commitment to delivering interim exhibition facilities on Glebe Island in time for the 2014 exhibition season, conflicting reports that the project has fallen over.
“Plans for the temporary exhibition facility on Glebe Island remain on track,” Stoner said.
“Our Government’s commitment remains to ensure an interim facility will be ready in time for the 2014 exhibition season, so there is no disruption to our events industry while the new world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities at Darling Harbour are built.”
Late last week the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) was alarmed by the news that Infrastructure NSW (INSW)terminated negotiations with the preferred consortia formed to design, build and operate the interim exhibition centre at Glebe Island.
In the past four working days, the association has met with INSW three times and received assurances that the facility can be built in time for the opening to the 2014 events calendar.
On Thursday (23 May), 120 members of the EEAA heard from INSW project director Tim Parker who assured the industry the facility would be operating by January 2014.
Deputy Premier Stoner also contacted the association to reassure the industry that the Government was confident it would deliver the interim facility.
While this assurance is welcomed, the association is most concerned that six months has been lost in what was an already very tight construction schedule.
“We have been informed the Government has commenced negotiations with the under bidder, GL Events to build the facility and with operator, AEG Ogden which is the company that will operate the new centre at Darling Harbour,” said EEAA’s CEO, Joyce DiMascio.
She added that the EEAA’s focus was on ensuring that the Government delivers a facility that opens on time, that is at least 25,000sqm of quality semi-permanent structures of a consistent standard and not hospitality tents and project staff with the competency to bring the project to a conclusion without increases in costs or additional funding resources.
The site also needed integrated transport to ensure people can get to and from the site as well as marketing support to ensure the location of the site and its proximity to Darling Harbour venues, hotels and attractions is communicated.
“The Government’s job is to focus its resources on getting a result. The industry and the thousands of companies that exhibit at trade and consumer shows have had enough uncertainty. There is not more time to waste.”