Qld government brushes away calls for convention centre upgrade on the Gold Coast

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The Queensland government has poured cold water on any hope of funding an expansion of the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, saying its current capacity will meet demand until 2038.

“We’ve invested more than $12.8 million in the Gold Coast Convention Centre with another $4.8 million in upgrades scheduled to make sure it can continue to host worldwide events and exhibitions,” a government spokesman told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

“A comprehensive review last year found that our convention centres will meet demand until 2038.”

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli was no more forthcoming about any further upgrades.

“We look forward to seeing a business case from the Gold Coast City Council as part of their advocacy for this project,” an LNP spokeswoman said.

Experience Gold Coast CEO John Warn said the city needed a “word-class convention centre”.

“We are working hard to drive the city’s business events pipeline over the next decade – and to bolster this, we need a world-class convention centre to match,” he said earlier this week.

Harvey Lister, ASM Global’s Asia Pacific chairman and CEO, said the city has grown considerably since the launch of the venue.

“The convention centre was conceived in 1999 and was a terrific development for the Gold Coast at the time but the city has now grown to such a sizeable place that it has far more to offer for conferences and all manner of events,” he said.

“In our view, that justifies an upgrade to the current centre to make it more flexible, and both increasing its size and attendee capacity.

“We think that this invested would be repaid many times over, increasing the economic impact across the city, including more room nights and increased bookings in hospitality spaces.”

He has also pitched a $700 million plan to expand the venue and add a 12,000 seat stadium and events precinct.

“I am hoping the next government will review the opportunity for expansion of the centre and what it offers for such a fast-growing region,” he said.