Government backs new ABC facility in Melbourne

2013-05-02_1142ABC is a step closer to housing all of its Melbourne activities to its Southbank facility today.

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.


  1. The building of a larger studio at Southbank could see ABC News Breakfast move into a bigger studio instead of the thing it uses at the moment. This would be good as the current studio is feeling dated and old.

  2. daveinprogress

    Some may see it as progress, i’m not sure. I love the Elsternwick premises. I worked at the rambling but historic Gore Hill studios for 15 years, and it was never the same once in the toxicly sick building at Ultimo. Victor’s comment below is spot on.

  3. As it’s just a loan, I would’ve thought their bank could cover this. Unless the Government’s terms are generous? Makes me wonder which building ABC News Breakfast comes from now. Always assumed it was Southbank (not to be confused with ABC’s new South Bank studios in Brisbane).

  4. One can only hope the ABC can get this right. Its move in Sydney from Gore Hill to a new purpose built facility in Ultimo has created a building that is too small with immense difficulty for parking and striking and moving sets in and out. It also feels like a morgue. It has not enhanced productivity at all. The ABC must have a facility that it can work in productively for the next 50 years. I hope Mark Scott takes a very close look at it before construction commences.

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