Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has announced a huge update for the Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Park, which will see improved access under a $228 million project.
Dr Napthine announced the renovations on the eve of the 2014 Australian Open. He believes the work will be more than beneficial, with more than 2.1 million patrons hosted by Melbourne Park each year.
"Major events such as the Australian Open deliver more than great sporting moments - they provide a massive boost to the Victorian economy and create new jobs," says Dr Napthine.
More than 200 events are held at the park each year, bringing in more than $420 million to the economy. Dr Napthine believes the upgrade is crucial to ensure the continued attraction of global events, such as the Australian Open, to Melbourne.
The new work announced is stage two of a project to restore the area. It will include the construction of a new bridge over Batman Avenue, leading to the precinct's new western entrance. Rod Laver Arena will be refurbished to include a new eastern entrance, plus a new 5,000-seat outdoor show court and administration and media centre.
The Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust will provide $40 million toward the second stage of development, while the remaining $298 million will come from the Victorian Coalition Government.
The first stage of development saw a roof constructed over the Margaret Court Arena, as well as a new National Tennis Centre facility and Edwin Flack Pedestrian Bridge. This initial stage cost $366 million.
Dr Napthine believes the development will ensure Melbourne Park remains the premier grand slam venue in the world and emphasise Victoria's place as a global sporting capital. Hugh Delahunty, Minister for Sport and Recreation, agrees.
"One of the reasons Victoria has a hard-earned reputation in international sports is due to the quality of venues statewide that support our major events calendar," says Mr Delahunty. He believes the redevelopment demonstrates the Victorian Government's commitment to putting quality infrastructure in place.
It's expected the projects will provide a major boost to the construction industry in Victoria, according to Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett. He believes $2.27 billion in economic benefits will be delivered to Victoria through the project, along with 1,300 construction jobs.
Melbourne Park's second stage of redevelopment is due to begin after the 2015 Australian Open.