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 November 09, 2005
Two Consortia To Contest For Melbourne's New Convention Centre

 The Minister for Major Projects, John Lenders, has announced the final two consortia that will compete to develop Melbourne's new Convention Centre. Mr Lenders said Convene and Multiplex/Plenary would progress to the final negotiation phase to develop the multimillion centre and precinct to be built on the south bank of Melbourne's Yarra River.

"Today's announcement (November 9) is a significant step in the construction of Australia's largest convention and exhibition precinct," Mr Lenders said. "The State Government received detailed proposals to develop the multi-million project in July this year from three bidders: Convene, Multiplex/Plenary Consortia and Melbourne Convention Centre Partnership. Following extensive and detailed evaluations, the Government will proceed with two bidders, Convene and Multiplex Plenary Consortia. The evaluation process, including an assessment of what bid offered the best value for Victorian taxpayers, found these two bids came closest to addressing our requirements."

Mr Lenders said negotiations with the remaining consortia would now start to clarify construction, design, services and commercial details of each bid before a decision on the successful contractor is made early next year. "We want to make sure Victorians not only get a world-class convention centre, but secure the best value for money for the State."

The makeup of the remaining consortia follows:

Convene - ABN AMRO (Equity and Finance), Bovis Lend Lease (Builder) and Spotless (Services Provider) and;

Multiplex/Plenary Consortia (MPC) - Multiplex (as Equity, Builder and Services Provider) and Plenary Group (Equity and Finance).

Mr Lenders said the successful consortium would be responsible for:

- designing, constructing and financing the new convention centre;
- providing management services;
- designing and constructing a pedestrian bridge across the Yarra to link with the north side of the river and the Docklands;
- commercially developing the surrounding precinct.

He said the Bracks Government expected construction of the new convention centre to start after the Commonwealth Games in March 2006.

"Victoria is delivering the largest public projects program in the State's history with more than $11.6 billion committed to infrastructure investment," Mr Lenders said.

"Hundreds of new capital projects, such as the Convention Centre, are underway across the whole state to keep Victoria strong and vibrant through world-class infrastructure including health, education, transport and community services."

The Minister for Tourism, John Pandazopoulos, said strategic investment in Melbourne's new convention centre had given Victoria a competitive edge in the lucrative business events market.

"Since the Bracks Government announced it would build a new world-class convention centre, interest in Melbourne as a business event destination has soared," Mr Pandazopoulos said.

"We've won four big conventions for the centre already, these are worth $60 million to the Victoria's economy and 11,000 delegates will visit Victoria," Mr Pandazopoulos said.

The centre will contribute an additional $197 million each year to Victoria's economy, create 2,500 new jobs each year over twenty-five years and build on Victoria's global reputation as a great place to work, live and do business.

Key features of the new world-class convention centre, which will be integrated with the existing Melbourne Exhibition Centre, include:

- a 5,000 seat divisible plenary hall;
- a ballroom;
- meeting rooms;
- pre-function spaces and assembly area, and
- banqueting facilities.

The City of Melbourne is contributing to development of the precinct and the construction of the pedestrian bridge which will link the convention centre precinct to the north side of the Yarra River.

The new convention centre will be delivered as a public-private partnership under the Partnerships Victoria model.