Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government backs proposal for a world-class convention centre

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has supported the proposal for a world-class convention centre fronting Lake Burley Griffin by announcing $1 million for a feasibility study into the development of the preferred site.

Promoted as an important element of national infrastructure, the convention centre is proposed to be a high quality, secure venue that caters for international dialogue, trade and significant national events.

Land on the lake's West Basin has been identified for the multi-purpose Australia Forum, which is estimated to cost nearly $330 million.

The venue would also include a 350-400 bed hotel, retail outlets and parking for 600-1200 cars.

Mr Stanhope said the ACT Government would allocate funding in next month's budget to explore the feasibility of the project as part of a possible West Basin development precinct.

"Our studies will explore the suitability of the West Basin area for development and how the Australia Forum might fit into this precinct," Mr Stanhope said.

"This will ensure the Australia Forum concept is progressed, putting it in such a position that when the Federal Budget has returned to surplus it can be considered for Commonwealth investment."

The ACT Government and the Canberra Business Council each contributed $250,000 for a scoping study into the project.

The study found there was a strong business case for a large and highly secure venue in the ACT suitable for the likes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Mr Stanhope said the project would deliver a venue of the scale and design that was suitable for the nation's capital, and recognised Canberra's role in international affairs.

However, Mr Stanhope said the project would need significant Commonwealth funding and private sector support to become a reality.

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