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Australia’s newest exhibition centre takes shape

One year after construction began Australia’s largest combined exhibition and convention centre is taking shape on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. The new centre is part of an A$1 billion…

One year after construction began Australia’s largest combined exhibition and convention centre is taking shape on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. The new centre is part of an A$1 billion development which includes a Hilton hotel, a lifestyle retail precinct and 60,000 m2 of shopping.

Opening for business in 2009, the new centre is being developed through a partnership between the State Government and Plenary Group. The Government is contributing $370 million toward construction.

Project director for Plenary Group, Steve Wise, whose consortium member Multiplex Constructions are the builders of the project, says construction of the stage walls and seating structures are now providing clear definition to the dimensions of the project.

Looking up at the installation of the first seating tiers and the height of the wall structures, there is real sense of progress for everyone involved.

Construction manager for Multiplex, Arthur Williams, says the team is quickly ticking off its construction achievements.

With 300 truck movements per day during the peak of excavation, six cranes on site by the end of June and some 1,000 workers on site by the middle of next year; a fundamental feature of a project of this scale is construction sequencing to ensure this massive jigsaw is put together in the most efficient and effective way.

Visiting the site, Minister for Major Projects, Theo Theophanous said the development will complete the urban renewal of the Yarra River’s edge linking Southbank to Docklands.

It will create an important commercial and lifestyle district down the river’s spine to the bay’s edge and port districts.

Melbourne’s Exhibition and Convention Centre chief executive Leigh Harry says it’s exciting to be able to see the centre take shape.

This is going to be a phenomenal building. Not only will it be visually striking, but it’s designed to achieve a Six Green Star environmental rating. It will be one of the greenest convention centres in the world, and it’s located in the centre of Melbourne city. You can stand at the 18 metre glass facade looking out to the Yarra River and feel like you could literally touch the city – you’re that close.

Already ten major international conventions are booked for the new centre, bringing more than 19,000 delegates to Melbourne with an economic impact to the State of more than $100 million.

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