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Mice Net : February 2010
mice.net 129 melbourne for business STORY AND IMAGES BY GRAEME KEMLO still building Having opened its new Melbourne Convention Centre only last July, the jewel in a bustling business events precinct, the city continues to add infrastructure to this stretch of the Yarra, looking to create a 365-day business tourism, retail, dining and pedestrian promenade linked to Docklands and the CBD. West along the river from MCC there's a new $1.4 billion South Wharf development of about 100,000 square metres with retail, including discount outlets, a homemaker centre, cinemas, 3000 car spaces and office/residential space. To the east and soon-to-open is the contemporary wave-shaped Crown Metropol, a five star hotel of 658 rooms, giving the Crown group bragging rights as Australia's largest hotel complex. Building on its major events reputation, further up the Yarra a new $267.5 million Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (MRS) will open this year with capacity for more than 30,000 rugby and soccer patrons featuring this city's own version of Beijing's watercube -- its radical bio-framed roof lit by thousands of multi-colour LEDs. And to the south of the city, Albert Park will be the new home to the State Athletics Centre in a $50 million upgrade. Victorian Minister for Sport, James Merlino, still refers to "the world's sporting capital" in announcing Melbourne winning the right to host the 2012 UCI Track World Championships, set to attract the best track cyclists from 40 countries. At last count Melbourne had attracted 56 major national and international events worth in excess of $600 million to MCEC and over the next three years alone it will generate $25 million hosting 6800 delegates there. Melbourne's major meetings this year include - 63rd Annual Department of Public Information Non-Governmental Organisations Conference (1275 delegates), HIC10 Health Informatics Conference (600), International Symposium on Surfactants in Solution (450); in 2011 - 12th Steadfast Convention (1400); Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (300); 4th World Congress of Asian Psychiatry (1000); and in 2012 - International Congress of Space & Aviation Medicine (400); World Congress of the Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys (450); International Symposium on Hepatitis C Virus and Related Viruses (1000). Next year's Steadfast Convention for Australia's largest independent group of insurance brokers is expected to generate for Melbourne more than $3.9 million, a figure expected to be well exceeded by the World Diabetes Congress 2013, one of the world's top 10 medical events that is expected to attract 12,500 delegates. Revenue Up, delegates up Despite economic uncertainty, for the 2008/09 year Melbourne was 19 per cent ahead of its revenue target and 20 per cent above delegate numbers targets. That translated into 77 per cent more delegate days for the Melbourne Convention Centre this year than last, generating 28 per cent more room nights for Victoria. The much-awarded Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has again been recognised for its environmental attributes after being named the winner of 2009's prestigious Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Environmental Excellence Award. MELBOURNE IS SAVOURING the next 12 months with renewed vigour says resident Graeme Kemlo. EVENTS