The Victorian Government has unveiled the biggest upgrade in Federation Square’s history and a new vision for the iconic site as a civic and cultural hub that embraces the Yarra and showcases the best of Victoria to locals and visitors.
A $20 million injection from the Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works stimulus program will support dozens of projects across the precinct to improve the experience for visitors at the city’s central meeting place.
The upgrade will deliver a new immersive Regional Experience Centre showcasing the state’s best food and wine, music and culture.
New lighting will be installed to improve safety and highlight the Square’s famous architecture and the Deakin Edge theatre and other spaces will be upgraded to better support events. Improvements will also be made to signage and accessibility at the site, which welcomes around 10 million visitors every year.
The Government also released its landmark review of Federation Square today – more than 1,800 people contributed to the review, launched in April 2019 to guide the Square’s future and ensure it remains at the heart of Melbourne’s civic and cultural life.
The review overwhelmingly found that Federation Square is valued as a place to experience arts and culture, to participate in exciting events and festivals, and to come together and celebrate as a community. The Government has accepted its recommendations and key initial actions include:
- Greater recognition and celebration of First Peoples culture and continuing connection to the site.
- Adoption of a community-driven vision emphasising Federation Square’s cultural and civic impact and the need to enliven the space with captivating experiences
- A commitment to embrace the Yarra and better connect with the adjacent arts and sports precincts
- Adherence to design principles and strategies to ensure any future physical changes “must aspire to match the quality of the original”, to be enabled in part by the creation of a design advisory board
- Incorporating Federation Square in the Government’s Creative Industries portfolio alongside other cultural and civic icons such as National Gallery Victoria, Arts Centre Melbourne and State Library Victoria.
The review was co-chaired by Victorian Government Architect Jill Garner and governance and financial expert Tim Eddy. A wide range of community, cultural, tourism, design, planning, hospitality and government stakeholders were consulted, as well as local, interstate and international visitors.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley
“Federation Square is the cultural and civic heart of Melbourne – it helps to bring us together and showcases our creativity, diversity and culture.”
“These things that were important to Victorians pre-COVID will be more critical than ever as we reconnect and recover as a community and rebuild our creative and visitor economies.”
“Federation Square will continue to evolve as a dynamic cultural destination that reflects the best of Melbourne and our creative state.”
Quote attributable to Fed Square chair Deb Beale
“We welcome the findings of the review and the additional Victorian Government support will allow for important physical improvements while enhancing our ability to fulfil our civic and cultural role.”
Reviewed 21 August 2020