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What’s next for Melbourne’s arts precinct?

What’s next for Melbourne’s arts precinct?
August 30, 2012

The new Hamer Hall may be open for business and getting rave reviews, but the Victorian Government has further plans for Melbourne's Southbank Arts Precinct.

Announcing that work is underway on a Southbank Arts Precinct Blueprint which will set out a vision for the future of the area, Victorian Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu has stated "with one of the highest concentrations of arts and cultural organisations in the world, Southbank is an area rich with potential and creative energy, and it's a growing residential area."

Premier Baillieu said the focus of the blueprint would be on how to activate and enliven the area and improve public amenity, not just on building more physical infrastructure.

He added "over the past two decades there's been a major investment in cultural infrastructure in Melbourne, with a strong focus on the Southbank Precinct and neighbouring Federation Square which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

"This has given us the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, a redeveloped NGV on St Kilda Road, Federation Square, ACMI, the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne Recital Centre and the MTC Theatre, and of course, the newly redeveloped Hamer Hall.

"As a result our cultural infrastructure is already the envy of other cities, and stands up against the best internationally.

"These venues, together with the Arts Centre, Malthouse Theatre, The Australian Ballet, the VCA and others, make this precinct a unique hotbed of arts, creativity and performance excellence.

"We're keen to see this reflected in the streets and outdoor public spaces, making it a welcoming and vibrant place, day and night."

Southbank is home to a fast growing residential population and more than 720 businesses, employing 38,000 people, with the arts and recreation industries making up about 30% of employment.

Growth has been double the city average and is expected to go from today's 13,000 residents to 20,000 residents by 2030. Almost half the residents are born overseas.

Premier Baillieu said the Southbank Arts Precinct Blueprint, which was initiated and funded in the 2011-12 State Budget, has also leveraged Commonwealth funds through the Liveable Cities program.

Premier Ballieu added "as a growing residential area and an arts, recreation and tourism drawcard, the Blueprint will focus on improving liveability, accessibility and public amenity, creating a vibrant and active street life and better integrating and connecting our iconic cultural institutions with the CBD, with business and residents, and with each other."

The Southbank Arts Precinct Blueprint will map out a vision for the future of the area and how it can be realized, and prioritise any future development.

It is being led by Arts Victoria, in partnership with the City of Melbourne and University of Melbourne, with an advisory group independently chaired by Yvonne von Hartel, Founding Principal peckvonhartel.

Work to date has included a detailed cultural facilities audit, a transport and mobility study and the collation of comprehensive precinct data.

The next steps include stakeholder consultations and research involving a wide cross section of the community, from residents and local businesses to students and visitors.



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