The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has struck a deal with the Victorian Government to hold the next three annual conferences in Melbourne, starting this year.

SPAA executive director Geoff Brown would not reveal how much public money is being provided for the event but said the decision on the location of the conference is never just about the highest bid.

“We had not held the conference in Melbourne since 2003 and we thought it was time to recognize Melbourne as a significant production hub, particularly for television,” said Brown, who has been negotiating with the Victorian Government for three months. “It is a substantial sponsorship package and it allows SPAA to deliver on the production values we are renowned for.”

The news was formally announced on the eve of the Logie Awards by Louise Asher, the Victorian Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, and Minister for Tourism and Major Events. She used the opportunity to also note that the Logies would be staying at Crown in Melbourne for the next five years. The SPAA deal is only for three years but it may extend to five years: one option being discussed is that the conference moves to a regional area in Victoria for the following two years.

The 2012 SPAA Conference will be held from November 12-15 at Central Pier Docklands, a $30 million redevelopment of heritage listed buildings on a jetty that juts into Victorian Harbour. A ferry, the Lady Cutler, is part of the venue and will also be used during the event.  Some parts of the conference program will also be staged at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), with delegates bussed over from Central Pier Docklands. ACMI accommodated a conference soon after it opened but, because of permanent exhibits, is no longer big enough.

The SPAA Conference has been held in Sydney for the past three years and on Queensland’s Gold Coast for the five years previously. The 2012 SPAA Conference will be Brown’s last as executive director and when the SPAA Council meets this Wednesday a committee will be formed to handle the process of finding a replacement for him.

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  1. At last it comes home, home again. The Melbourne SPAA’s always memorable. The Gold Coast stretch was great because it really provided a great ‘conference holiday’ vibe which was enjoyable. The Sydney conferences might as well have been held in Guantanamo Bay as that’s how claustrophobic the CBD and hotel felt after a couple of days there. Same crowd of people as Gitmo, too… Welcome home to Melbourne we can’t wait.

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