MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (13:08:53): Last night I had the privilege of attending the formal opening of the Geelong Arts Centre, the revitalised and redeveloped facility that was funded by the Andrews Labor government to the tune of $37 million, and it certainly is a great facility.
The arts centre has been a key part of creative Geelong for nearly four decades, especially significant for celebrating and promoting local talent as well as bringing national and international performances to regional Victoria. The building itself is landmark quality, supporting Geelong’s role as a UNESCO City of Design. It has some impressive features, not least the innovative Creative Engine—a huge coworking floor with desk space and meeting facilities, enabling creative practitioners and organisations to work side by side. Creative Engine will offer a dedicated professional and business development program that is open to the wider community. Other features include four new state-of-the-art performance and rehearsal studios, a new entrance and a foyer bar. It is also important to note that the hidden historic church is now embedded and open for everyone to see—a very important part of the Geelong community.
Can I thank Jill Smith and congratulate her. Jill drove the campaign to get the funding for this great facility. She wanted to make sure that Geelong and its surrounding region had a state-of-the-art home for the arts, and she certainly has achieved that. Still to come is the second stage of the $128 million transformation of the Little Malop Street end of the building, which has been funded in the Victorian budget 2019–20.