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News July 11, 2022

Seven More Entertainment Precincts In Pipeline

Seven More Entertainment Precincts In Pipeline

The rise and rise of outdoor entertainment precincts continue with plans or talks for new spaces in Canberra, Wollongong, Hobart, Melbourne, Darwin, Ipswich and Toowoomba.

CANBERRA 

Such a precinct was a recommendation made by the June report from the Better Regulation task force.

It looked at how the ACT could overhaul regulation of small and medium business to make it easier for them to operate within the next two years.

Developing an entertainment and nighttime precinct would “make a significant contribution to the ACT’s economic recovery, the jobs market and the way of life for Canberrans,” it said.

Feedback from live music venues, clubs and bars was that regulatory changes needed to be made to noise management, a coordinated approach to approvals, and the disproportionate burden of fees for different scales.

The report was welcomed by the sector, with Civic being the area where it would best work.

In November 2019 an entertainment action plan by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate called for up to eight such entertainment precincts across Canberra.

In the meantime, the just-released second round of the ACT’s ‘Amp It Up!’ grants saw 15 music businesses share in $502,575 of funding to keep recovering from the pandemic.

They included music venues UC Live, Cube, Gang Gang, Molly, One22 and Transit.

WOLLONGONG

The plan for a precinct around the $500 million revitalisation of Wollongong Entertainment Centre and WIN Stadium took a further step.

 The NSW budget in June allocated $3.5 million for a business case and strategic master plan.

The idea is to attract more entertainment and sporting events, while the precinct will tap into the picturesque foreshore with bars, music venues, restaurants, offices and shops.

Wollongong City Council general manager Greg Doyle called it “one of the city’s greatest assets as a destination to celebrate, be entertained and enjoy the natural beauty of our coastal setting.

“(It) will deliver a thriving and unique experience that will strengthen the region’s visitor economy, support job growth and enhance the liveability of our city.”

HOBART

A push has begun to turn Macquarie Point – a 9.3-hectare site near Hobart’s waterfront and CBD – into an entertainment and sports precinct driving tourism, hospitality and culture.

It would stage concerts, theatre productions and conventions, with dining options, be home to festivals as Dark Mofo and Taste, and be a sports hub for international cricket, soccer, NRL, rugby union and home to Tasmania’s AFL team.

Ten years ago the Federal government committed $50 million toward developing it.

Dark Mofo this year complained of insufficient venues due to escalating attendances. 

Its director Leigh Carmichael said a number of international acts turned down playing Tasmania because of the size of available venues.

In the meantime, in April 2022, the Good Shed in Macquarie Point – the 1914 railway shed with a 1,555-capacity that hosts occasional concerts and theatre productions – was taken over by Hobart Brewing Company which plans to spend a reported $5 million to expand.

It expects a dozen promoters to use it, including Vibestown, known for the Party In the Paddock, Basin Concert and Party in the Apocalypse.

MELBOURNE

The latest update on the Melbourne Racing Club’s $570 million Caulfield Racecourse sports, entertainment and dining 54-hectare precinct is a 15,000-capacity outdoor concert and festival space to rival the Myer Music Bowl.

DARWIN

The NT News reported that plans put forward by a developer for twin ‘skinny’ residential towers on Darwin’s Mitchell St led the Property Council NT to propose an Entertainment Precinct Plan to reactivate the economy and solve the eyesore of its empty buildings and vacant lots.

IPSWICH

Ipswich City Council (Queensland)’s 2022-23 Budget Council included a $41.5 million commitment for the next phase of work in the Nicholas Street Precinct redevelopment.

Aside from opening 40 new hospitality and retail stores in the next two years, there are plans for concerts and music festivals in the parks.

TOOWOOMBA

Toowoomba (Queensland) could have a 40,000-person outdoor festival venue to draw international and major Australian acts.

It’s part of developer Wagner Corporation’s $170 million motorsports and entertainment precinct at Wellcamp, including a V8 Supercar racing track, motocross, 4WD, go-karting and camping.

The company is trying to get the federal government to chip in $40 million, as the precinct is forecast to generate $58 million into the federal economy and $60 million locally.

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