The Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre opened in 2009, with a construction cost of $8.5 million, and provides a professional performing arts facility, cafe/bar and facilities for conferences and events. An economic impact assessment of the centre, commissioned by Arts Victoria and undertaken by Essential Economics in 2013, found it has generated significant additional economic activity in the region.
The research found that:
- Regional visitation has increased by approximately 5,200 persons per year associated with arts performances, conferences and events. As a consequence, regional visitor spending has increased by around $1.6 million (direct and indirect) per year, benefiting a wide range of regional businesses.
- The increased economic activity has resulted in additional employment of 19.5 EFT, including 2.75 directly associated with the facility, and the balance involved directly through suppliers, visitor spending etc.
- The capital cost of the new centre will have been repaid, from additional economic activity in the region at the end of 2014, which is just over five years after completion.
- In 2011/12 for every dollar of operational subsidy provided jointly by State and Council, one dollar and eighty cents was generated for the regional economy (equivalent to a benefit cost ratio of 1.8:1.)
A number of important, non-quantifiable economic benefits associated with the new centre were also identified in the research, including:
- Improved patronage to the broader cultural precinct, with the Wangaratta Art Gallery in particular, experiencing a considerable increase in attendance; and
- significant increase in volunteer levels, with volunteer hours increasing over tenfold from the pre-development situation, generating the equivalent of $28,000 in wages.
Further findings and details of the methodology can be found in the report below.