The Victorian Coalition Government today announced it would investigate opportunities to connect the Melbourne Cricket Ground to Melbourne Park, following a request from the MCG Trust and the MCC.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum today joined MCG Trust Chairman Bob Herbert, Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) President Paul Sheahan and CEO Stephen Gough to announce a feasibility study into building a deck over Brunton Avenue and the rail lines adjacent to the MCG and Melbourne Park.
"Following a request from the MCG Trust and MCC, a feasibility study will investigate decking over Brunton Avenue and the adjacent rail lines," Mr Ryan said.
"The Coalition Government will provide support through relevant departments.
"Such a development could improve our world-famous sporting precinct by adding features such bars, restaurants, or a live site area including screens for fans to watch the action as it happens inside the 'G'.
"Any proposed development needs be thoroughly investigated so we attract even more national and international events into what is already the world's best sport and entertainment precinct.
"Contemporary stadium precincts around the world are making great use of their existing space to improve the spectator experience."
Singapore Sports Hub, Hong Kong Sports Hub (currently under consideration), Staples Centre in Los Angeles, and the London Olympics Precinct are all examples of how spaces can be used for live sites, corporate and sponsor facilities, bars and dining, and digital broadcast infrastructure.
The MCG Trust and MCC will manage the feasibility study under the guidance of a joint steering committee including the Government and Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust.
"We welcome the opportunity to investigate the feasibility of utilising the space above the existing railyards," Mr Gough said.
"There are many possibilities and we are excited by the prospect of further enhancing the sporting precinct around the MCG."
Mr Drum said the study will also consider how existing facilities at the MCG and Melbourne Park might benefit from the additional space created by a deck, such as an expanded National Sports Museum, the future redevelopment of the Great Southern Stand, and space to accommodate a growing Australian Open.
"I congratulate the MCG Trust and the MCC for their enthusiasm and their proactive approach to this development proposal," Mr Drum said.
The feasibility study will consider such things as:
- the types of activities the deck could accommodate;
- the public benefits;
- project costs;
- design options and engineering challenges;
- implications for operations in the rail corridor;
- the timeline for funding and delivery; and
- any return on investment opportunities that can be achieved.
Mr Drum said the MCG Trust and the MCC had already identified the need to establish links for efficient and safe movement of people within the corridor, including the separation of people and cars where possible.
"Major events like this week's AFL Grand Final highlight just how important the MCG is to the fabric of Victoria's sporting culture," Mr Drum said.
"As the capacity of the precinct grows, the safety of patrons, particularly those on Brunton Avenue and Punt Road seeking access to Richmond Station and beyond, must also be a priority.
"The Victorian Coalition Government, with its proven commitment to this iconic sporting precinct, is ideally placed to drive this exciting proposal."