Qld truck show ends 25yr showground tradition

Queensland Truck and Machinery Show on the move; RNA Showgrounds rejected as 2011 venue

By Jason Whittaker | January 25, 2010

Australia’s largest truck show will move across town next year, abandoning its traditional showgrounds site for Brisbane’s convention centre due to redevelopment.

The 2011 Queensland Truck and Machinery Show on May 5-8 will be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre at Southbank across the river from the CBD, ending a 25-year tradition at the RNA Showgrounds.

The showgrounds site at Bowen Hills is undergoing a multi-million dollar redevelopment, originally supported by truck show organisers the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ), which was to house the event into the future.

But CVIAQ boss Brett Wright tells ATN the original plans for the site were altered which would have disrupted future shows, held every two years.

A briefing with the RNA late last year revealed preferred planning options had been scrapped and "some of the things they were looking at weren’t that positive for the show’s future".

He says the revised plans – which put most of the exhibition space on the northern side of Gregory Terrace – would have seen ongoing construction work disrupt "the next three, possibly four shows".

"In recent months their planning seems to have changed," Wright says, pointing to a difficulty in locking in dates and forward planning.

Talks began with the convention centre, an alternative Wright says became a "no-brainer". The decision to shift – "purely on the basis of what serves the show best" – was made unanimously by the CVIAQ board.

Wright admits the show won’t have the same gross floor area, but he says exhibition space at the showgrounds would have been cut if the event remained at the venue.

He also points to cost incentives, saying there are "considerable savings on overheads" by using the convention centre. The cost of closing Gregory Terrace alone last year was in the order of $30,000.

Wright envisages using the air-conditioned exhibition halls – about 25,000 square metres of space – for vehicles and the concourse areas outside for other industry suppliers.

And while the move means a significant loss in outdoor space, Wright says the show will have access to the plaza in front of the convention centre. No more will it rain on the industry’s parade.

"It's simply not good enough in the 21st century that our industry looks to the heavens and prays for fine weather every time we hold an event at a showground - be it Brisbane or elsewhere," he says.

"The BCEC is recognised as Australia's premier convention and exhibition centre, in the top 3 in the world, and the only venue in Australia worthy of our industry's premier event."

Wright says the move is one of the biggest moments in the history of the CVIAQ. Organisers are hoping to capture the same feel of previous shows.

"One thing we’re absolutely dedicated to is maintaining that show atmosphere," he says. "You’re not going to find a sterile showroom."

The CVIAQ wrote to the RNA society informing it of its decision but has had no response. ATN has been unable to seek comment from the group.

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