In Business

New South Wales Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird

A World Class Convention Centre For Sydney: NSW LIBS & NATS To Start It Now

Victor P Taffa

A NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will build a world class convention and exhibition centre in Sydney as part of its plan to drive the State’s economy forward and intends to start the process immediately, NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell announced today.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals understand the value conventions and exhibitions bring the State’s economy.” Mr O’Farrell said.

“Conventions and exhibitions provide jobs and boost the economy as the visitors eat, drink, sightsee and play.” Mr. O’ Farrell said.



“This announcement is another demonstration of the NSW Liberals & Nationals determination to restore economic growth to NSW by creating jobs and opportunities for the people across the State.”

To ensure construction can start as soon as possible after the State election, the NSW Liberals & Nationals will begin the process immediately by:

  • Commencing an independent feasibility study on a new convention centre;
  • Releasing ‘shadow’ Expressions of Interest so that the formal tendering process can be accelerated in Government;
  • Appointing a three-person Sydney Conference Facility Expert Panel to oversee the initial procurement stages;

A range of industry groups including Sydney Business Chamber, Property Council of Australia, Tourism Transport Forum, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and Australian Tourism Export Council will oversee the independent feasibility study.

“The challenges facing NSW are large and the NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined to hit to the ground running.” Mr O’Farrell said.

“I acknowledge starting the process from Opposition is unusual, but it simply reflects the fact we are determined about starting the work to improve this State from the moment we’re elected should we be successful at next year’s election.” Mr. O’ Farrell said.

Shadow Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Major Events George Souris said just last week Sydney missed out on a United Nations conference involving 90 countries and 1,200 delegates that went to Melbourne instead.

“There is clear evidence that Sydney is missing opportunities to host major international conferences and events:

  • Between 1997 and 2007 Sydney dropped from Number 1 to Number 8 on the International Congress and Convention Association rankings for association meetings.
  • It is estimated that Sydney’s convention and exhibition industry is losing the financial equivalent of one Rugby World Cup every year due to a lack of convention and exhibition facilities.
  • The under-provision of convention and exhibition facilities will cost Sydney $477 Million in economic activity and 3037 jobs each year.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals will not prescribe sites to be considered, that will be up to the Sydney Conference Facility Expert Panel.” Mr. Souris said.

Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird said the feasibility study would also identify an appropriate funding model and impact on the NSW Government finances. The feasibility study will be completed by the second half of 2010.

“Tourism and conventions are a major economic boost to this State.” Mr. Baird said.

“It is estimated that a six-day international conference for approximately 2,000 delegates contributes an average $9 Million to the economy.” Mr. Baird said.

“With the NSW economy limping as one of the poorest performers in the country, conventions and exhibitions could and should provide a shot in the State’s financial arm.”


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