Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley have announced the first stage of a major Southbank redevelopment. It will include new public spaces, upgrades to theatres and what will be Australia’s largest contemporary-art gallery – NGV Contemporary (NGVC). The new gallery will have a world-leading focus on contemporary art and design.

“This once-in-a-generation redevelopment of Southbank and the arts precinct will create thousands of jobs and attract millions of visitors from across Victoria, Australia and the world,” Andrews said in a statement.

“It’s a game changer for our city that will cement Melbourne as the cultural capital of Australia.”

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The state government has pledged $208 million over two years to begin planning on the new development. The new standalone gallery will be built on Southbank Boulevard next to the Arts Centre, where the Carlton & United Breweries Building currently is. The Age reports Premier Daniel Andrews saying on Sunday that $95 million of the first round of funding had already been spent to acquire the CUB Building. Further funding will be sought from philanthropic sources. The federal government is yet to commit funds to the project.

As well as the new gallery, 18,000 square metres of new and renewed public space will be developed allowing for direct travel between Southbank’s promenade of restaurants and entertainment and the National Gallery of Victoria, NGV Contemporary and the Arts Centre. The latter of those institutions will also receive an upgrade to its theatres.

The other big news is the that 1 City Road will become a new creative hub that will be home to the Australian Performing Arts Gallery and The Australian Music Vault. In the hub there will also be room for small-to-medium independent arts organisations and education and research facilities.

A statement from the state government claims that during construction the extension of the arts precinct will create 10,000 jobs and 260 ongoing positions. The government predicts an extra three million visitors each year to the area.

The same statement also notes that the Arts Centre Melbourne and NGV attract twice the amount of visitors as the MCG; more than six million people annually. And that Victoria’s creative industries support 242,000 jobs and contribute $22 billion to Victoria’s economy every year.

This article was updated on August 9, 2018.