Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
The Empire Theatre in Toowoomba will receive $2 million from Round Two of the Regional Development Australia Fund to build a new state-of-the-art black box theatre that will seat 350 people and attract a new variety of performances.

In Toowoomba today to make the announcement, Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said the $5.5 million project will provide an economic and jobs boost and drive a new stream of performances to the historic theatre complex.

"The Empire Theatre is one of Toowoomba's iconic landmarks and this project will deliver new infrastructure that provides both social and economic benefits," Mr Crean said.

"Through RDAF, the Federal Government will provide the Toowoomba Regional Council with $2 million to bring the $5.5 million Toowoomba Regional Arts and Community Centre to life.

"As the largest performing arts theatre in regional Australia, the Empire Theatre has a proud history of quality productions, and this expansion will not only strengthen Toowoomba's thriving arts scene, but also deliver economic benefits to the city.

"The new venue will be used by professional and community arts groups, local youth groups and touring companies. The project is expected to create 18 jobs during construction and nine ongoing positions when complete."

Mr Crean said the second round of RDAF will invest $200 million in projects across Australia, including $33.6 million for eight projects in Queensland with a total value of more than $134 million.

"The Toowoomba community responded to the challenge of developing a creative proposal that stacked up, effectively leveraged other funding and sustained the economic and social future of the region," Mr Crean said.

"RDAF is part of our Government's record $4.3 billion investments in regional health and hospitals, skills, higher education and infrastructure.

"With our economy in transition, we have strengthened the role of the nation's 55 Regional Development Australia committees, including Darling Downs and South West, which played a vital role in working with the community to identify and prioritise projects consistent with their regional plan."

Mr Crean said the Toowoomba Regional Arts and Community Centre will revitalise the theatre precinct and provide an infrastructure boost.

"After launching the project last year, the centenary year of the Empire Theatre, this expansion will ensure that audience numbers continue to grow," he said.

"Round Two of RDAF builds on the $150 million distributed to 35 projects through Round One last year, which included $20.5 million for regional Queensland projects.

"Projects such as this one in Toowoomba receive funding because leverage other investments and demonstrate clear long-term regional benefits, including more jobs and opportunities for the community."

More information on the Regional Development Australia Fund and all projects can be found at www.regional.gov.au

Contact Profile

Glen Atwell

P: 0403 949 599
W: www.regional.gov.au


Regional Development Australia Fund, black box theatre



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