Australia’s first purpose-built convention centre, Adelaide Convention Centre, has turned 25 and marked the occasion with the announcement that over 5.5 million delegates and guests have passed through its doors since 1987.
The Centre, the vision of then South Australian Premier John Bannon and Minister for Tourism Barbara Weise, has been a major contributor to the local economy, hosting 1400 conferences and bringing over $1 billion into the State.
During this time, the Centre has consistently hosted an average 2.5 major conferences every week as well as several smaller meetings and events.
It has also been a major employer with 3800 people working at the Centre over the last quarter of a century. More than 500 permanent and casual staff are currently employed at the Centre.
Adelaide Convention Centre Chief Executive Alec Gilbert said the Centre has continued to lead since setting the benchmark for the country as Australia’s first purpose-built convention centre.
“The Centre has continued to expand and innovate to attract some of the biggest and best conferences and events from around the world.
“In particular, technologically and environmentally, with the Centre being the first in Australia to launch many new initiatives, products and services to conference organisers and delegates.
“Ninety per cent of the Centre’s waste is now recycled, reused or composted, through composting in the Bio-bin, or being fed to the 450,000 earthworms in the ACC’s worm farm.”
Part of the Centre’s success has been the result of attracting and retaining a strong team.
Founding Chief Executive Pieter van der Hoeven led the Centre for 21 years before handing the baton to Alec Gilbert in 2006.
Many of the senior staff at the Centre has been employed at the Centre since day one including Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations, Sunil Malik and Manager of Innovation and Design, Chris Sewell.
The Centre has been used to showcase the best of South Australian food and wine with 95% of the produce and wines used coming from the State including the now world renowned Port Lincoln oysters, Penfolds wines and Coopers beer.
The ACC also taken its corporate, social responsibilities seriously and believes it has an obligation to set a good example in the way it behaves as an organisation.
The Centre donates spare meals to disadvantaged South Australians through local charities Foodbank SA and OzHarvest Adelaide and to date has donated over 50,000 meals.
Over 25 years, the Centre has continued to expand starting from 2010sqm and by 2017 will be expanded to almost 23,000sqm of space.
This year, worked started on the $350 million expansion of the Adelaide Convention Centre with civil works on Stage One to create 4,300 square metres of multipurpose convention floor space now well underway and due for completion in mid-2014.
Stage Two of the redevelopment, replacing the existing Plenary Building (home of the original Centre in 1987) with a multi-purpose, state-of-the-art facility with plenary capacity of up to 3,500 seats, is scheduled for completion in June, 2017.
Adelaide Convention Centre Chief Executive Alec Gilbert said the major redevelopment of the Centre will again position South Australia as a leader in the international convention market by providing one of the largest, most flexible and up-to-date meeting places in the world and removing existing capacity restraints.
“The success story of the Adelaide Convention Centre continues and we look forward to the next 25 years.”