Former Mayor says Events Centre needed for Region’s Economy

Artist's Impression of the proposed Sunshine Coast Centre

Jobs, jobs, and more diverse jobs! Billion-dollar industry opportunities will be missed if we don’t act now, says Chair of the Sunshine Coast Arts, Convention and Entertainment Centre Assoc Inc. (ACE) and former Maroochy Mayor, Alison Barry-Jones.  

“Sunshine Coast Council, government, and key stakeholders must ensure the proposed Sunshine Coast Arts, Convention and Exhibition Centre ‘gets off the ground’ in time to maximise opportunities from the fast-approaching 2032 Olympics”, she says.  

“The $248 billion events Industry is projected to increase by another 12% by the 2032 Olympics. The Brisbane Olympics will inject more than $8 billion dollars into the economy, and the Sunshine Coast needs to be ready to diversify our community infrastructure offerings and reap the ongoing returns. The Sunshine Coast is headless and heartless without a vibrant city centre to attract commercial investors, visitors and residents. An operational Arts, Convention and Exhibition Centre is what we desperately need to breathe life into our new City Centre, drive and enrich our region’s economy, and boost corporate tourism,” Ms Barry-Jones said.

With over 100,000 signatures of support from residents, high-profile community leaders and Patron Matteo Bocelli (Italian singer/songwriter, son of Tenor Andre Bocelli), the ACE committee have been working tirelessly over the past 4 decades to ensure the long-overdue entertainment and convention centre becomes a reality.

ACE Chair, Alison Barry-Jones with ACE Patron, Matteo Bocelli at the Melbourne Concert Hall – March 2024

“Our Council has already completed more than $3 million in feasibility studies over more than 40 years, each study has confirmed the absolute need for this critical, job-creating, infrastructure. Other smaller regions across Queensland have long enjoyed the financial, economic and social benefits this type of infrastructure delivers. The Sunshine Coast is languishing behind socially, culturally, commercially, and economically, as these same regions repeatedly access the public purse at our expense”, Ms Barry-Jones said

Showcasing the Sunshine Coast before and beyond 2032 requires urgent attention. Our Councils’ reports already confirm the need for this facility. It’s time to integrate the various uses – Arts, Conventions Exhibitions – in a centralised location, with a cost effective and architecturally designed world-class facility.  

Between benefactors, joint venture partnerships and financial contributions from all tiers of Government, this can and must be done. The events industry market in Australia is massive, and we are missing out. Among other opportunities, the Qld Governments’ City Deal Fund for major infrastructure offers grants of up to $200 million per project. “Successive Sunshine Coast administrations have made no effort to lobby for our share of funding, there IS money there and we need to fight for it”, Ms Barry-Jones said.

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