Rocky's $31.5M art gallery plan awaiting Federal Govt funds
ROCKHAMPTON' new $31.5 million art gallery hinges on Federal Government funding, after state support was announced this morning.
The State Government will pledge $8 million in next week's budget to help Rockhampton build a three-storey gallery alongside the heritage-listed Customs House in Quay St.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry reinforced her support for the project, saying it was "fantastic" to see the state chipping in.
Rockhampton Regional Council has prepared a $10 million submission for the Federal Government's Regional Growth Fund.
"It would be fantastic for the people of Central Queensland," she said.
Ms Landry said the fund was "very competitive" so it couldn't be assumed Rockhampton would get the money.
However, she pledged support if that submission failed.
"If they don't get it in that fund, we will certainly be fighting for it in other projects that come up."
Successful projects are expected to be announced at the end of July.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the gallery would compliment the revitalised riverbank.
"We have one of the greatest art galleries in regional Queensland, if not Australia," he said.
"With the new art gallery we will be able to have three times the amount of art on display.
"We really do need to bring people back into the city heart and supporting our local businesses."
The new gallery would have the ability to host national exhibitions and include a space dedicated to the nationally significant 1500-piece Rex Pilbeam collection, now worth $14 million.
Arts minister Leeanne Enoch said Rockhampton's art collection was something the whole state should be proud of.
"I don't think people fully appreciate just how special this collection really is," she said.
"This investment really is about unlocking and opening up the opportunity to see this amazing collection."
Acting mayor Cherie Rutherford said the art gallery could be completed by 2020, depending on timing of funding announcements.
Council's contribution has been budgeted.
"The new gallery itself will feature two large gallery spaces, three education spaces, a permanent storage collection, industry-standard loading dock, restaurant and retail shop," she said.
"This project will drive economic growth, create local jobs, increase tourism numbers and cement our reputation as the premier cultural destination in Central Queensland."