The Exhibition and Events Association of Australasia (EEAA) has expressed its disappointment that the Victorian Government has not committed to expanding the Melbourne’s exhibition facilities in the 2013 State budget handed down yesterday (7 May).
The Association has been campaigning for the Government to allocate the funds for the expansion that was part of the vision for the site.
EEAA general manager, Joyce DiMascio said that when the new Melbourne Convention Centre opened in 2009, the industry believed the next stage of the expansion would be built within a few years. However, competition for funding of other capital works and social infrastructure continues to put this crucial project back.
“While the Victorian Government has a history of support for the events sector, it risks compromising the growth of the Victorian industry and its flow-on economic benefits to the State,” she said.
“Many events organised by EEAA members are venue-bound. The size and availability of space has reached capacity and Melbourne risks turning away new business and larger exhibitions.”
The latest EEAA Market Monitor released last month shows that Melbourne has attracted over 50% of the new shows planned for 2013.
“This healthy market will be compromised if events cannot continue to grow and if infrastructure is not updated with state of the art services.”
EEAA President, Matt Pearce who heads Diversified Exhibitions, one of the biggest exhibition organisers in Australia, says it is becoming increasingly difficult to squeeze into an under-sized venue.
“Melbourne leap-frogged the rest of the country in 2009 with the opening of the six-star green rated Melbourne Convention Centre. It’s now disappointing that this momentum is not being maintained as events have a clear and direct impact on trade and the economic life of Melbourne and Victoria.” he said.
“The site has been procured, the slab is down now we need the ten to fifteen thousand square metres of exhibition structure to be built so that the project is completed as per the vision for the Melbourne.
“We know the Victorian Government has a strong appetite for this infrastructure – our message is that it should continue to provide the necessary space for business to flourish.
“Victoria has positioned itself as a city that does business through events. In order for the MCEC to remain competitive it must expand to meet the growing demands of the exhibition industry so we urge the Government to keep the exhibition expansion on its immediate agenda.”