The arts community of West Gippsland let out a thunderous applause today as the West Gippsland Arts Centre re-opened its doors after undergoing major redevelopments.

Federal Member for McMillan Russell Broadbent, who attended today’s official opening, said the revitalised Arts Centre will shine a spotlight on West Gippsland and regional Victoria.

“With an increased seating capacity, up from 480 to 750 patrons, larger audiences will be able to enjoy the wide range of performances on offer at the Arts Centre.

“It is anticipated that the Arts Centre will see an extra 1.2 million visitors over its life – which is music to the ears of the arts community and regional economy,” Mr Broadbent said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government’s $4 million investment will set the stage for a boom in the arts in regional Victoria and bring major economic benefits to Gippsland.

“Bigger and better performances will increase demand for venue hire and draw in audiences from near and far – with revenue predicted to increase by $1.7 million over the next 10 years.

“Striking a chord with more than just the arts community, the redevelopment supported a massive expansion in job opportunities, with 160 jobs created during construction and a further 21 ongoing roles,” Mr McCormack said.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Council Mikaela Power said the Arts Centre will not only cater to big ticket touring artists but provide a range of opportunities for local school students to perform on stage and see professional productions.

“Thanks to the state of the art facilities there will be expanded possibilities for touring performances along with school and community productions,” Cr Power said.

“Complete with a lift for improved access, café and visitor centre and improvements to the dressing rooms, booking office and administration spaces, the Arts Centre will be able to successfully cater to professional and local performances well into the future.”

This project was jointly funded with the Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government investing $4 million, the Victorian Government $4 million and Baw Baw Shire Council $5.4 million.

Hannah Maguire