Victorian Labor Pledge Up To $13.4M To Save The Palais Theatre

The Victorian Labor Party have announced a plan to help save Melbourne’s Palais Theatre from decay, with an investment of up to $13.4 million. Labor Party leader Daniel Andrews has today announced that his opposition government will lead an alliance to help restore the iconic venue.

In a press release, Victorian Labor have unveiled a partnership with the City of Port Phillip and Palais Theatre Management, which will put a total of $26.7 million into the restoration of the heritage-listed building. Labor has said that it will match the contributions of the council and Palais Theatre operators dollar for dollar.

Under Labor’s plan, the Palais would be repaired over five years, and would remain open during the restoration.

“The Palais is the heart and soul of live music in this city,” Andrews says in the release. “It’s stood for 87 years and we refuse to sit back, like the Liberals, and watch it fall apart.

“This won’t be a patch-up job. It’s a once-in-a-generation restoration to give the building a new life. We’ll save the Palais.”

Rock icons The Rolling Stones have shown their support for the Palais during their current Australian tour, and local muso Tex Perkins announced earlier this month that he will run as an independent in the upcoming state election to help save the venue.

Perkins, who has been campaigning with I Love My Palais, recently told Fairfax Media that the organisation wanted to get the major parties on board.

“We’d like to get enough profile and momentum,” he said. “Enough to scare the major parties into adopting this as their policy.” With Labor’s announcement today, Perkins can safely say that he’s succeeded. Labor had also previously pledged $22.2 million to support local musicians and jobs supporting musos, venues and technicians. The previous Labor Government invested $2 million to upgrade the Palais Theatre’s roof in 2010.

A Port Phillip Council brochure describing the Palais Theatre as facing “imminent risk of closure” was discovered in August. The brochure claimed that $15 million was required to keep the venue open in the short-term, with $25 million needed to secure its long-term future.

According to a report prepared for Port Phillip City Council by Essential Economics, the Palais Theatre hosts 120 shows annually, with 250,000 patrons walking through its doors. The venue contributes $33.8 million to the Victorian economy and employs a large number of full-time and casual staff.

As The Music point out, the current Victorian State Government recently played down the ALP’s earlier $22.2 million promise, announcing their own streamlined new licensing laws, a review of noise regulations, reduced regulations for small venues and a $500,000 Live Music Noise Attenuation Assistance Scheme. The Coalition have also pledged $1 million to fund Music Victoria’s regional music action plan and $400,000 to help fund Music Victoria over a four year period.

The Victorian Labor Party’s Palais Theatre media release is available in full via the ALP website. The Victorian state election is set for 29th November.

Photos: Boy & Bear – Melbourne, Palais Theatre 03/09/14

Photos by Alesha Martyn

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