Australian International Motor Show joint-venture partner VACC has pressed Victorian State Treasurer Michael O'Brien to include provision for an extension to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre in the upcoming State Budget.
VACC, who jointly with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), runs the Australian International Motor Show, has urged "an extension and upgrade of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre so that this vital Melbourne facility remains competitive".
The cancellation of this year's planned Melbourne Motor Show, which failed to attract the manufacturer support necessary to stage an event of international standing, also exposed the shortcomings of Melbourne's current exhibition facilities.
Limitations to the facility mean that it not possible to provide the kind of exhibition space demanded by manufacturers for a modern motor show.
VACC's appeals to successive Victorian Government for a larger exhibition facility of international standard, has thus far fallen on deaf ears.
The Melbourne Exhibition Centre, "Jeff's Shed", opened on the 14th February 1996. Now, the better part of 17 years later, and despite the opening of the adjacent new Convention Centre, it remains largely unchanged from the original building.
The cancellation of the 2013 Melbourne Australian International Motor Show was a significant loss for the City of Melbourne and the State of Victoria, the 'home' of the Australian motor industry.
“This year’s Motor Show may have been cancelled, but we are working on a new business model for future Shows," VACC Executive Director David Purchase said.
In a briefing to The Motor Report, Mr Purchase revealed that VACC and its joint venture partner FCAI are working on an Australia and South East Asian Motor Show, one that encompasses and involves Australia's near neighbours in South East Asia.
"(But) We’ll need Victorian Government assistance to do so," Mr Purchase said. "A good first step would be to extend and upgrade the MEC so we have a world class venue to attract world class exhibitors to a world class show.”
China now has two annual major motor shows, and the Bangkok show is rapidly growing in international stature.
Without a world-class facility, Australia risks being lost in the backwash of these growing international shows in our region. And with it, risks losing forever an event of international standing and the significant business and tourism benefits it brings.
The Australian motor industry will be hoping that the call reaches the ears of the Victorian Treasurer, Michael O’Brien.