News & Media

Minister digs construction milestone as Convention Centre booking pass $100 million mark

Conventions worth more than $100 million are now booked for the 5,000-seat Melbourne Convention Centre, which is currently under construction, Minister for Tourism, John Pandazopoulos said today.
Mr Pandazopoulos made the announcement today while visiting the site to inspect the start of bulk excavation of the 60,000 square metre basement site.
The convention centre is the central feature of a $1 billion urban renewal project on Melbourne’s lower Yarra River bank, which includes a five star hotel, an office and residential tower, a riverfront promenade of shops, cafes, bookstores, wine merchants and a homemaker retail complex.
“This project is huge and so are the economic benefits that it will deliver for to Victoria once the new convention centre opens,” Mr Pandazopolous said.
“Word is spreading about Melbourne’s world-class convention centre that will boast a raft of features including a 5,000 seat plenary hall, a ball room, 32 meeting rooms and a ground foyer for 8,400 guests.
“The latest convention to be secured is the International Congress of Parasitology ICOPA XII in 2010. Ten conventions have now been booked bringing more than 19,000 delegates to Victoria with estimated spending on local hotels, restaurants, tourist and cultural attractions of more than $100 million.
“In addition, Melbourne is currently bidding for 30 international conventions worth almost $500 million.”
Mr Pandazopoulos said bulk excavations for the centre and hotel will dig a hole three times the width of the MCG and five metres deep by early next year.
“Construction is proceeding according to schedule and the convention centre project remains on track to open for business in 2009. Significantly, the number of construction jobs on site will grow from 180 by December this year to 760 by June next year and peak at 1,140 in June 2008,” he said.
The Bracks Government has committed $370 million to construct the new centre as part of a public-private agreement with the Plenary Group. The Melbourne City Council will also invest $43 million.Mr Pandazopoulos said the convention centre was part of the largest infrastructure spending program in Victoria’s history.
Once completed, the convention centre will help generate 2,500 jobs and increase economic activity by $197 million each year over 25 years.
Dr David Piedrafita, Vice-President of the Australian Society for Parasitology said Melbourne was selected over Mexico, Brazil and Thailand.
“The convention centre’s proximity to Melbourne’s CBD gave our bid the winning edge. The global scientific community also knows that Melbourne is one of the friendliest cities to visit, easy to get around and very cosmopolitan,” Mr Piedrafita said.
“Our bid was also helped by the fact that Melbourne has many senior and high profile researchers in the field of parasitology. We lead in malaria research for example and research that will help farmers beat parasites now they are becoming resistant to drench.”
The Australian Society for Parasitology is the local host for ICOPA XII and will provide a forum for the presentation of international research, discovery and innovation in parasitology.
Additional conventions also recently confirmed for the new centre include the International Geomorphology Conference and International Federation of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists Congress in 2009 as well as the Congress of the Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists in 2010.
Mr Pandazopoulos said business events provide Victoria an annual $1.2 billion economic boost and Government allocated $8.1 million over two years in the May budget to help build on this success.
Conference Delegates
2009 International Geomorphology Conference (IAG) 800
2009 International Federation of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists Congress (IFSCC) 500
2010 International Congress of Parasitology (ICOPA 2010) 2,000
2010 Congress of the Federation of Asian and Oceanian Biochemists and Molecular Biologists -FAOBMB (Symposium) 1,500
2010 International Conference of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 2,000 
2010 International Congress of Internal Medicine 4,000 
2010 International Congress of Applied Psychology 2,000 
2010 International Congress for the Chemistry of Crop Protection 1,500 
2011 International Botanical Congress 4,000 
2011 14th World Congress on Human Reproduction  1,000