Gallop bids to keep gigs at the Dome

Austadiums   |  Saturday 16th April 2005

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Geoff Gallop will try to convince Burswood chairman James Packer not to close the Burswood Dome as a concert venue until a replacement indoor stadium is built in late 2007.

Burswood, which the Packer family controls after last year's $715 million takeover by Publishing & Broadcasting, is refusing to take concert bookings at the Dome after the curtain falls on Delta Goodrem's July 8 performance.

With the Perth Entertainment Centre already mothballed, that will leave Perth without a suitable indoor concert venue until at least late 2007, when the Government hopes a new multi-purpose stadium will be opened.

The new stadium moved a step closer yesterday when Housing and Works Minister Fran Logan invited the two consortiums bidding for the Government's $50 million contribution to present formal proposals.

However, in a move which could ultimately threaten the viability of the new stadium, he revealed the $50 million contribution would be drip-fed to the successful private developer over 20 years rather than paid as an up-front lump sum.

Mr Logan said that was to ensure the developer could not walk away from its on-going commitment to operate the stadium once it was built.

Apart from indoor concerts, the new stadium must be capable of hosting sporting events such as netball, BMX, basketball and the Hopman Cup tennis tournament.

Burswood is contracted to host the Hopman Cup until 2007, after which it plans to demolish the loss-making Dome.

Mr Logan also revealed that he, the Premier and Tourism Minister Mark McGowan would meet Mr Packer soon in a bid to persuade Burswood to keep taking on concerts at the Dome until the new stadium was completed.

He said the Government considered Burswood was obliged to do so under the terms of the 1985 Casino (Burswood Island) Agreement Act.

However, Burswood chief executive David Courtney said the casino and resort company was in a bind. Burswood would breach the Environmental Protection Act if it continued to hold concerts at the Dome once the first residents moved into the neighbouring Peninsula apartments project in July.

"We're not refusing bookings for any other reason than that," Mr Courtney said.

"If someone could find a solution for us the Dome would continue to take bookings, but we don't see a way around it."

In light of its plan to demolish the Dome, Burswood is seeking to meet its longer-term obligations under the 1985 legislation by linking up with Multiplex in two proposals for the new stadium at a site next to the State Tennis Centre and a redeveloped Entertainment Centre.

The only other pitch for the Government's $50 million offer is from Mirvac Fini and the Royal Agricultural Society, which have expressed interest in building the new stadium at Claremont Showground.
 

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