Construction of a much-anticipated performing arts centre in Traralgon is underway with the official turning of the sod ceremony held on Friday afternoon.
The Latrobe Creative will feature a 750-seat theatre, a smaller studio theatre, several multipurpose rooms, tourism visitor information facilities, outdoor event spaces and an indoor/outdoor cafe.
Latrobe City Council and the state and federal governments are each contributing $10 million to the project, which is expected to be open for business in late 2020.
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing and federal member for Gippsland Darren Chester together dug the shovel into the ground to mark the beginning of construction of the precinct.
Ms Shing said the precinct would make “all the difference” and would add “buzz and momentum to add to what is already happening in our creative groups, associations, schools and the various sorts of clubs that bring these wonderful events to the Valley”.
“We want to make sure that in addition to investment in jobs, education and health and also the vital public transport infrastructure, that we are also taking care of the creative lifeblood that flows so strongly through the Latrobe Valley,” she said.
“We want to make sure the best and brightest of our creative scene has the best facilities to work in.”
Mr Chester said the flow-on benefits from the precinct would be “enormous”.
“Obviously [there will be] jobs through the construction phase, and the facility, once it is built, will mean the development of local talents and job opportunities onsite, job opportunities around the entertainment precinct and around Traralgon and the Latrobe Valley,” he said.
“The community has campaigned for more than 20 years to see this creative precinct.”