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 May 28, 2014
Transforming Darling Harbour: Work Starts At International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney

 NSW Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner announced today that construction has begun at Sydney's world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct - called the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney -- a project that is part of a $2.5 billion redevelopment of Darling Harbour which will create thousands of jobs.

Mr Baird and Mr Stoner also announced a time-capsule will be buried on site, containing a range of artefacts and information about the history of Darling Harbour.

"The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is getting on with the job of transforming NSW by investing in infrastructure projects that help grow our economy and create jobs," Mr Baird said.

"Today marks the start of construction on the largest fully-integrated convention and exhibition facilities in Australia, and over the next two years an intensive construction schedule will be undertaken to deliver the project by the end of 2016.

"The construction of the new $1 billion convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities is part of a larger $2.5 billion redevelopment -- the Darling Harbour Live project.

"The site will be swarming with excavators and bulldozers and up to 12 cranes will dot the city skyline as work swings into full gear.

"At the peak of construction, there will be more than 1,200 workers on site, and at least 50 apprentices will work on the project over the duration providing an attractive opportunity for vocational training.

"In total the project will provide 3,700 jobs during construction and a further 4,000 jobs on completion.

"Once completed the new world-class convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities will ensure Sydney remains the first choice in Australia and the Asia Pacific for the lucrative business events industry," he said.

Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner said Darling Harbour's 20-hectare renewal, together with Barangaroo's bold $6 billion redevelopment, the $1.6 billion Sydney Light Rail program, and the pedestrian precinct at The Goods Line, will completely reinvigorate the western flank of the city.

"The transformation of Darling Harbour alone will provide a boost to the State's economy, with an estimated $5 billion to be generated in economic benefit during the next 25 years," Mr Stoner said.

"The creation of thousands of jobs during construction and thousands more once the project is complete will provide a significant boost to the economy.

"While the revitalisation of Darling Harbour is underway, Sydney will continue to play host to a range of major conventions.

"Up to 20,000 delegates from more than 150 countries will attend the 105th Rotary International Convention which begins this weekend at Sydney Olympic Park.

"The Sydney Exhibition Centre at Glebe Island will also hold many of the city's annual events and exhibitions, ensuring Sydney remains open for business.

"Darling Harbour will continue make a positive contribution to the State's visitor economy, with the NSW Government working with local businesses to ensure a wide range of exciting and engaging events continue to attract visitors to the area while construction is underway," he said.

Mr Stoner said the transformation of Darling Harbour would pay respect to the area's rich history.

"As we herald in the next chapter in Darling Harbour's story, we have been mindful to keep the history of the precinct's continual evolution alive for future generations by dedicating a time capsule," Mr Stoner said.

"The time capsule contains mementos, video, imagery and information about Darling Harbour on the cusp of its biggest change in 25 years.

"From its Indigenous heritage, early colonial years, industrial use as a goods yard, railway node and port to its revival as an events and entertainment destination, Darling Harbour has always been a place for people and a centre of innovation.

"The $2.5 billion Darling Harbour Live redevelopment will build on that legacy with state-of-the-art major events venues, a new city neighbourhood, as well as new open public spaces, water features and improved pedestrian connections into this much loved part of Sydney," he said.

Quotes attributed to Lyn Lewis-Smith, CEO of Business Events Sydney:

Our state-of-the-art convention and exhibition facilities at Darling Harbour are underway! Business Events Sydney (BESydney) is thrilled with the start of construction and how the redevelopment is progressing.

We have every confidence in Darling Harbour Live and the NSW Government to deliver this major piece of infrastructure on time and as promised. Our clients too are demonstrating their confidence in the new centre. Already, 30 months from completion, we have secured 11 events for the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney worth more than $55 million, many of which fall within the New South Wales (NSW) Government's priority industry sectors.

Business events and their legacies help to further NSW's expertise and growth and we are excited to be welcoming these facilities, which will be key to continuing growth, fostering collaboration and furthering our global connections to fuel productivity.

The conferences we help to bring to the city have a massive impact on Sydney's knowledge economy and Australia's place on the global stage. Collaboration in the fields of research and best practice are simply more effective with the meeting of minds in one city. And there's no better place to meet than in Sydney. It's where people want to be.

Brand ambassadors:

Pia Winberg, CEO of Venus Shell Systems (VSS): "A new conference centre in Sydney is a great addition in the heart of Sydney. The harbour is the heart, it's where Sydney evolved from and grew from and it's great to be able to share that heart with the people that come to Australia.

"I think that conferences are an essential part of any field of work, be it academic research or even business. It's about spreading ideas and creating knowledge. Our individual knowledge won't take us far, only together will our ideas progress."

John Mattick, Executive Director of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research AO FAA FRCPA: "Connections with professional colleagues, beyond just having a talk over a cup of coffee at a conference, are extremely valuable in terms of our ability to network with individuals because it brings the world to us and brings us to the world at the same time. The fact that Sydney has such fantastic facilities, on the harbour, just means that people want to stay on in this city in more ways than one."

Roy Green, Dean of the Business School at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS): "Much of what we innovate emerges from personal interaction. Some of it, of course, can occur virtually and will increasingly be so but human interaction will continue to be the source of networks, the source of innovation, the source of deep collaborative activity and conferences are ... the centre of all this. Conferences are <also> critical to the future of this city. We know people...want to spend <time> in a location which has other attractions apart from a conference and Sydney offers this."