Victorian State Government Allocates $13M To Save Palais Theatre

The Victorian state government has made good on its election promise and has allocated $13.4 million in its state budget towards restoration for iconic St. Kilda live music venue the Palais Theatre.

According to The Herald Sun, the state budget has allocated $6.7 million for Palais Theatre restorations in 2015/16 with a further $6.7 million to be included in the 2016/17 budget.

The commitment, according to Fairfax, seals a pre-election deal with Port Phillip council that puts a total of $25.5 million towards restorations over two stages. The council will contribute $7.5 million to that total, and the remaining $4.6 million is reportedly hoped to be covered by the winner of a tender for the Palais’ long-term lease.

“The Palais is the heart and soul of live music in this city,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in a press release when announcing the plan last year. “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.”

A timeframe for the restoration has not yet been announced, and the council has also yet to name its candidate for the lease. Fairfax reports that the three candidates currently being considered include Live Nation Entertainment, Sydney company Playbill, and the current lessee, Neil Croker’s Palais Theatre Management.

Last year Melbourne muso Tex Perkins entered the Victorian State election as an independent candidate with a platform dedicated to saving the embattled Melbourne venue. His run in the race has been credited towards pushing the agenda higher onto Albert Park MP and Creative Industries minister Martin Foley’s priority list.

According to Fairfax the Victoria state budget also allocates $12.2 million to state’s “Music Works” program designed to “boost development of local jobs” which is not quite their previously proposed $22.2 million in live music investment. An extra $1 million has reportedly been set aside for planning of a Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, though no concrete proposals have yet been made for that.

Gallery: Chet Faker @ The Palais Theatre, Melbourne 2015 / Photos by Alesha Martyn

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