New Art Gallery a catalyst for positive economic change

Published on 20 February 2018

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Council’s vision to pull its nationally significant art collection from storage and into a newly developed Rockhampton Art Gallery is expected to pump $280 million into the local economy over the next 15 years. 

Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said an economic appraisal undertaken to assess the likely economic impact of the new Art Gallery confirms it is set to be a major, long-term, economic driver for the Region. 

“What the business case has shown is that we do not benefit as much from tourism as most regional cities. It doesn’t contribute to our economy as much as it does in other cities,” Mayor Strelow said. 

“On the upside this means that we can realistically and legitimately expect to increase our market share with new investment. 

“When we took stock of our strengths and opportunities after de-amalgamation,  the tourism product that was easily identified as having room for improvement was fishing tourism, adventure tourism (Mount Archer), cultural tourism (Quay Street buildings and our Art Collection) and the wonderful package that Mount Morgan offers.

The relocation and expansion of our Art Gallery is the keystone project in our Cultural Tourism offering.”

The 15 year appraisal estimates an increased tourism visitor expenditure of $244.7million and value added of $91.4million, increasing economic output by $245.1million.

“This is an opportunity to deliver economic opportunities for a range of services and industries, artists, cultural service suppliers, the tourism industry, the education sector and importantly will have a positive impact on job creation," Mayor Strelow said. 

“We could see at least 69 full-time jobs created over the two year construction period from 2018 to 2020, and further full-time positions supported and created over the following 15 years post construction as our tourism market responds.

"The benefits of the project clearly outweigh the costs. This is a project that will spark an urban renaissance in our CBD and see our arts and culture scenes continue to expand for generations to come."

It is expected that the new Rockhampton Art Gallery would more than double the visitation numbers per year from 41,000 to 90,000 initially, and increasing overtime. 

Managing Director of Cassidy Hospitality Group Grant Cassidy said the new Art Gallery is yet another achievement in unlocking the city's potential. 

"The Art Gallery is going to be an extremely powerful drawcard for our Region and just adds to the impressive riverfront redevelopment, historical buildings and the restaurant and cafe culture that continues to expand," Mr Cassidy said. 

“This will contribute significantly to the vibrancy of our city, it will give visitors a reason to stay longer and a chance to really to explore the beauty of our Region. 

"We are committed in selling our Region and products within it to domestic and international markets, and the new art gallery will without a doubt give both our leisure and corporate travellers a reason to visit and fall in love with Rockhampton. 

"Iconic projects like this are a game changer for Rockhampton and this is certainly setting the pace for the future of our city."