The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) held its second project update on the redevelopment of Darling Harbour in partnership with Infrastructure NSW to provide industry access to the latest news about Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP).
The project update covered the key facts about the redevelopment, issues related to the timetable, impacts during the build phase and strategies for business continuity including capacity at Sydney Olympic Park.
EEAA General Manager, Joyce DiMascio said over 80 members attended the meeting on 23 March which heard from the Sydney International Convention Exhibition and Entertainment Precinct (SICEEP) Project Director, Tim Parker from Infrastructure NSW; Peter Thorpe from Sydney Showground and Lyn Lewis-Smith from Business Events Sydney and EEAA Chairman, Matt Pearce of Diversified Exhibitions.
“Our goal is to ensure as much information about the redevelopment is circulated within the industry and the most effective way to do this is by bringing the industry together with the project leaders to ensure there is open discussion about the issues.” Ms DiMascio said.
The EEAA has continued to work with Infrastructure NSW and other arms of Government over the past month on critical issues related to business continuity.
The EEAA audit of the events that will be affected by the proposed closure shows that 65 events over 15,000 square metres require new homes for the period of the redevelopment.
The project update attendees heard that Infrastructure NSW would spend at least another 4 weeks exploring options on alternative sites with a resolution potentially taking up to mid-year.
EEAA has now called on NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell; Treasurer Mike Baird and other senior Ministers to invest adequate resources in securing suitable locations so that Sydney can stay open for business.
“There is no doubt that through the work of EEAA there is now more information in the hands of Government about issues affecting members. It’s our job to help the agencies charged with responsibility for the SICEEP project are not working in a project management vacuum.” Ms DiMascio said.
The Government’s Request for Proposal’s formal release is imminent although a draft has already been issued to the two remaining short-listed consortia.
“EEAA member organisers are now meeting Infrastructure NSW to outline the specific requirements for each event so that a detailed evaluation can be made of alternative sites including Moore Park and other locations.
“It was clear after our site inspection of proposed interim facilities at Moore Park that this location would not be suitable for large exhibitions and conferences. It will be up to the Organisers and PCOs to assess whether this option will be suitable for their clients and smaller conferences and exhibitions.” Ms DiMascio said.
Infrastructure NSW is now harnessing the expertise of senior executives of Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre to work through the functionality of Moore Park and a booking system.
“Infrastructure NSW, Destination NSW and Business Events Sydney are all proactively working with industry to find suitable alternative sites that will work and deliver clients a quality experience and organisers a financially viable outcome.” Ms DiMascio said.