For some time the ABC has been planning to extend its existing Southbank site on the corner of Sturt St. / Southbank Bvd (pictured), by building on the rear of the property which currently exists as a single-floor car park.
The future plan has been for current ABC facilities in Elsternwick (at the famed Gordon Street studios) to shift to Southbank.
Today the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy, announced that the Government will assist with the construction.
“Subject to approval of Parliament, the Government will provide the ABC with a loan of $90 million to assist the construction of a purpose-built facility at Southbank, Melbourne,” he said.
“The new headquarters will house the ABC’s radio, television and digital production operations, as well as its broadcasting and support services.
“The ABC is currently spread across three sites in Melbourne: two at Elsternwick and one in Southbank.
“By consolidating operations, it will allow the ABC to achieve operational savings and productivity benefits that will ensure it can continue delivering high quality content across a broader range of platforms.
“The ABC has grown into a multi-platform media organisation, which delivers a range of news, current affairs, sport, and entertainment programs that are accessed by millions of Australians every day.
“The new facility will help the ABC meet its needs into the future.”
The eventual closure of Gordon Street studios (also known as Ripponlea) will mean the last TV studio under its original ownership in Melbourne is abandoned. The site is still in use for Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Can of Worms for TEN, but is legendary as the former home of Countdown, The Big Gig and Spicks and Specks.
ABC Managing Director Mark Scott has previously assured staff the new facility will include a working studio.
“The new facility in Melbourne will include a large television production studio. As is the case now with our existing Melbourne operation in Gordon Street, the new studio will be utilised for both internal productions and co-productions as well as external hire. The precise size and required studio fit out will be considered as part of the planning process,” he said.
The Government’s loan will support the construction and fit-out costs of the new facility. The ABC will fund the remaining project costs from its existing resources and will repay the loan by 2020-21.