Rockhampton is set to become the centre of regional Australia’s art scene thanks to funding through Round 4 of the Palaszczuk Government’s successful $295 million Building our Regions (BoR) program.
The $31.5 million Rockhampton Art Gallery project is receiving $5 million through BoR, in addition to $2 million provided previously for a business case and $8 million in other Queensland Government funds, bringing the Queensland Government’s total contribution to $15 million.
The federal government is also contributing $10 million, with $8.5 million from Rockhampton Regional Council.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding will enable a new art gallery to be built that is seven times the size of the existing space, supporting 104 construction jobs.
“A new art gallery will deliver significant community and economic benefits to Rockhampton and the wider central Queensland region,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Rockhampton has a proud and proactive arts and cultural community, but the current Rockhampton Art Gallery, which opened in 1979, lacks the space to house and display its nationally significant collection.
“It is the only regional gallery in Australia to hold a representative collection of works of the ‘greats’ of Australian modernist painting of the second half of the 20th century.
“Visitor numbers doubled from 2012 to 2017 – from 15,156 to 30,025 – so there’s obviously a healthy appetite for the arts in Rockhampton.”
The new gallery will feature two large flexible gallery spaces, three education spaces, permanent collection storage, a restaurant and a retail shop, with total floor area increasing from 650 sqm to 4711 sqm.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the new gallery will lead to local economic growth and job creation.
“By attracting major cultural events to the region, the new gallery will support ongoing work in Rockhampton’s arts and recreation services sector,” Mr Dick said.
“This is about unlocking employment and investment opportunities for the city, with the development contributing to the revitalisation of the CBD and region.”
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Government is committed to investing in the arts and cultural sectors.
“The Rockhampton Art Gallery is a significant gallery of Queensland, with an unrivalled collection of modern Australian art that must be preserved and housed appropriately,” she said.
“This government is thrilled to contribute funding to such an important asset for the Central Queensland region.”
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke said the gallery would prove a huge drawcard for locals and visitors and bring people back into the Rockhampton CBD.
“From art enthusiasts to young children, school groups to families, everyone who lives in or comes to Rockhampton will be attracted to this fantastic new gallery,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“It will be a boon for small businesses in the CBD and revitalise our city centre.
“We have a vibrant and diverse region, from our resources and agriculture, through to tourism, culture, sport and arts. This investment shows that the Palaszczuk Government supports and understands what a great place Rocky is.”
Round 4 of Building our Regions will see the Palaszczuk Government partner with 37 councils on 49 projects – work which will create an estimated 657 jobs.
Under previous rounds, the program has allocated $225 million to 174 critical infrastructure projects across the state, generating 1762 jobs and attracting additional investment of $353.5 million from councils and other organisations.
Through the first three rounds of BoR, Rockhampton Regional Council received $8.52 million for four projects, supporting around 54 jobs.
Learn more about the Building our Regions program.