Geelong is set to welcome a new $170 million convention and exhibition centre, thanks to a joint agreement between the Australian and Victorian Governments.
The new venue is part of the $355 million Geelong City Deal, which is ten-year partnership to revitalise the city and attract more visitors to the region.
Set to be built on the site of the Deakin University car park, the waterfront convention centre is expected to include 3000 square metres of pillar-less exhibition space and capacity for up to 1000 plenary delegates.
The centre will also feature banquet facilities, meeting rooms, a business centre and an adjoining four-star, 200-key hotel.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said the convention centre would bring $350 million to the regional economy during construction and about $50 million each year once it is operating.
“The convention centre will support 270 jobs, boost tourism and drive new business growth in the region,” he said.
“The Deakin University waterfront car park site is set to be transformed to a valuable asset for Geelong and all of Victoria.”
Business Events Geelong convention bureau manager Mark Day supported the proposed centre, saying it is “fantastic news for the region”.
“It will not only inject $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,” he said.
Business Events Victoria executive officer Chris Porter said the 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 said.
Other improvements to the region under the Geelong City Deal include upgrades to infrastructure along Great Ocean Road and a new ferry terminal in Queenscliff to enhance services crossing Port Phillip Bay.