Melbourne is set to retain its lead status following the announcement of expansion to the MCEC.

You just can’t keep a city like Melbourne down. With the opening of the International Convention Centre Sydney still 12 months away, the Victorian capital has some good news of its own with the announcement that stage two of its convention centre expansion is set for take-off.

The Victorian State Government made the announcement in its budget in May, announcing up to $210 million will be invested in the long-awaited expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).

Stage two of MCEC’s expansion will ensure MCEC remains Australia’s largest convention and exhibition space.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust Chairman Bob Annells said the MCEC had been working closely with the Victorian State Government and stakeholders to develop a proposal that meets the global demand for multi-purpose convention and exhibition space.

“The investment supports the work MCEC conducts with the Melbourne Convention Bureau to attract major business events to Victoria and aligns with the government’s Victorian Visitor Economy Review to support the growth and development of this sector.”

MCEC chief executive Peter King said the highly anticipated announcement was welcome news for industry and Victoria. “Melbourne has led the growth of the business events industry globally for the last decade and it’s wonderful to see government investing in this lucrative and important sector,” Mr King said.

“Five hundred and eighty million dollars of economic contribution is generated annually from MCEC’s activities and the expansion is estimated to generate an additional $175 million annually for the state.

“MCEC’s expansion will significantly expand the South Wharf precinct footprint to offer a range of flexible spaces to meet the changing needs of the business events industry, address global competition and ensure we retain our position as Australia’s number one business events destination.”

The completion of MCEC’s expansion is expected to result in an additional 74,000 international visitors annually, create hundreds of jobs and provide an estimated $167 million boost to the economy.

The venue has had a record three years while turning away 20 per cent of business opportunities due to a lack of available space, and exceeded expectations following the Victorian State Government’s previous investment to build the new convention centre in 2009.

Each year the award-winning MCEC attracts more than 1000 events, 1.5 million visitors and is recognised globally for its excellence in event delivery.

Melbourne Convention Bureau (MCB) CEO, Karen Bollinger, was equally as positive.

“This is exciting news for the Victorian business events sector, and shows that the state government recognises the substantial role business events play in the Victorian visitor economy,” she said.

“Every year the MCB secures an average of 175 business events and 59,000 delegates to Victoria which delivers an estimated $247 million in economic contribution to the state economy. MCEC is one of the MCB’s key strategic partners and plays host to many events that we secure.

“This financial year alone the MCEC has played host to more than 20 international association conferences secured by MCB, including the 20th International AIDS Conference, the 15th Biennial

Meeting of International Gynecologic Cancer Society and the World Geothermal Conference. These conferences generated around $170 million in economic contribution for the state, created more than 1900 jobs and supported the growth of Victorian future industries.”