Red tape could tie up Tasmanian convention business

AUSTRALIA - The Tasmanian Convention Bureau (TCB) has spoken out about the ‘red tape’ around the Princes Wharf redevelopment, which it says could affect Tasmania’s convention business.

The TCB says the Sullivans Cove Waterfront Authority has imposed “tough new planning conditions” on the AU$15m revamp of event space including sound restrictions and a curfew on events held there. There are also concerns that construction would not commence until January.

The Department of Treasury and Finance has petitioned the restrictions and delays, fearing this year’s events such as the Taste Festival and MONA FOMA are at risk if it is not completed in time. The project was due to start immediately after last year’s Taste Festival.

"The bureau has bids in the marketplace for a number of business events that include PW1 as an important multi-purpose venue," says the Bureau CEO Stuart Nettlefold. "With the construction start date now looking like being pushed out to January 2011, these events are certain to be lost to the state."

Taste Festival director, Marti Zucco, told local newspaper The Mercury that he was not overly concerned about the conditions as events could apply for one-off exemptions.

Nettlefold adds that the restrictions would reduce Tasmania's competitiveness when bidding for major events. "Tasmania is competing globally in a highly competitive marketplace for business events. If there is any uncertainty with the usage of infrastructure, these business events will simply go elsewhere."