The new Melbourne Conference Centre opens its doors to the public this month. Some 50 major international conventions are already booked at the facility, which forms part of the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre (MCEC).
The new centre, an extension of the original convention complex, offers an additional 32 meeting rooms of various sizes, a grand ballroom and a plenary hall that can be divided into three self-contained, acoustically separate theatres. It is also fully integrated with the existing exhibition centre, making the MCEC the largest combined exhibition and convention centre in Australia.
As Business Traveller reported last year (see online news January 25, 2008), the centre has strong green credentials, with a six-star environmental rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Innovative green design features include a black water treatment plant and the use of sustainable timber for the wood paneling in the plenary hall, banquet room and foyer.
Food is also an important part of the convention centre’s environmental efforts, with chefs using locally-sourced ingredients where possible, according to food and wine manager Frank Burger. “We don’t look at the size of the group when we’re preparing a menu,” he said. “It’s all about what is in season locally, and then sourcing the freshest, best quality product we can whether it’s for 20 or 2,000.”
The development of the MCEC has also seen the opening of the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf, a 396-room hotel with a business centre and meeting facilities as well as a fitness centre, café, bar and restaurant.
The MCEC is located in South Wharf in central Melbourne, on the Yarra River.
Report by Sara Turner