Geelong will get a $170 million new build convention centre on the site of the car park at Deakin University’s waterfront campus.

The money for the new purpose-built centre is part of the $355 million Geelong City Deal, a joint agreement struck between Federal and State Government. Early plans indicate the convention centre will be capable of accommodating up to 1,000 plenary delegates, have 3,000sqm of pillar-less exhibition space, banquet facilities, meeting rooms, a business centre and retail outlets. A four-star, 200-key hotel adjoining the precinct has also been included in the plans.

Other improvements to the region to be funded under the deal include a revitalisation of central Geelong, upgrades to infrastructure along Great Ocean Road, and a new ferry terminal in Queenscliff to enhance services crossing Port Phillip Bay.

Geelong Convention Bureau manager Mark Day said the announcement was “fantastic news” for the region. “It will not only inject $50 million in economic impact annually to the region once operational, but it will also open us up to bid for larger pieces of business that we have previously not been able to,” he said.

Chris Porter, executive officer at Business Events Victoria, said the funding commitment from both parties highlights the importance of the business events industry. “Having a dedicated convention and exhibition centre in Geelong is paramount for continuing to grow regional Victoria’s share of this lucrative industry,” he said.

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