Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sydney announces bigger expansion plans

News this week: The New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced through project manager, Infrastructure NSW (INSW), that a budget of US$1.03 billion has been approved to fund the development of the Sydney International Convention, Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) at Darling Harbour.

The latest update on new facilities will include 40,000 m2 of exhibition space and 6,000 m2 of meeting room space, while convention and banqueting capacity will be increased to cater to 10,000 and 2,000 people respectively.

The total size of the precinct will also be increased by two-thirds from 12 to 20 hectares, which will include supporting facilities such as hotels and retail space. The construction of the precinct will see the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre and Sydney Entertainment Centre closed for renovations between 2013 and 2016.

Industry players have voiced concerns regarding replacement space for the “65 large exhibitions and events that will be displaced over the three years”, as well as the allocation of open public space due to the inclusion of the adjoining Tumbalong Park in the expansion.

Barry O’Farrell, Premier of NSW, commented, “NSW has already lost A$150 million in economic benefit over the four years to 2010-11 because the current facilities have not been able to accommodate 169 conventions and 12 exhibitions. During the three-year construction period, Sydney’s major events industry will remain open for business… Sydney Olympic Park, Moore Park, Sydney’s hotels, the Australian Technology Park, Allphones Arena and other venues in Sydney will play an expanded role in hosting conferences, exhibitions and entertainment during the construction period.”
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