Some of Australia’s best known rock legends want new life breathed into Melbourne’s historic Palais Theatre.
Daddy Cool frontman Ross Wilson says the St Kilda theatre, which has played host to some of the world’s best performers, has an aura about it that made it special for performers and fans.
“You step on that stage and look out at the massive dome at the top and all the people and it’s an incredible atmosphere,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“Anything that can be done to preserve this and hopefully make it better than it ever was, from my point of view, I’d really appreciate it.”
Hunters and Collectors rocker Jack Howard backed up the call, saying any steps to save the historic theatre would be worthwhile.
The pair joined Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews at the theatre on Tuesday to announce a $13.4 million restoration commitment if Labor is elected on November 29.
Mr Andrews says Labor’s commitment would form part of a $26.7 million restoration project jointly funded with the City of Port Phillip, theatre operators Palais Theatre Management and the community.
“If we’re going to remain the cultural and arts and live music capital of our nation we can’t let venues like this fall into disrepair and Labor won’t,” he said.
City of Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said repairs to the theatre would cost an estimated $40 million and the council’s $7.5 million commitment was conditional on a $25 million state government contribution.
The theatre has become a talking point in the marginal Albert Park electorate, held by Labor by just 0.9 per cent.
Mr Andrews said Labor’s announcement had nothing to do with musician Tex Perkins who is running as an independent in the seat with the restoration of the theatre his sole election issue.
“(Albert Park Labor MP) Martin Foley, for 18 months, has worn out the carpet to my office talking about this issue,” Mr Andrews said.
“He understands just how important saving the Palais really is.”
Premier Denis Napthine said the coalition would be happy to receive a considered proposal for the project.
“What we need to do is make sure we get a proper business case, a proper evaluation,” he said.