MELBOURNE, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- A major stadium redevelopment and a piazza-style town square are part of a new vision to ensure Melbourne Park remains a world-class sporting precinct and the home of the Australian Open tennis tournament until 2036.
John Brumby, governor of Victoria where Melbourne is located, unveiled the proposal on Wednesday and said it would better cater for the growing popularity of the Australian Open and establish Melbourne Park as an unbeatable sports and events precinct.
The proposal places a strong emphasis on providing more open space and shade, increased seating capacity, better connections to public transport and easier movement into and within Melbourne Park, he said.
The plan also proposes a new town square in the center of Melbourne Park, which has the potential to become an important Melbourne meeting place.
He said the Victorian Government would invest 5 million Australian dollars (3.42 million U.S. dollars) to progress the proposal to redevelop Melbourne Park, helping to secure the status as Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific.
"It has been 21 years since the Australian Open was moved from Kooyong to its new home at Melbourne Park, and since that time the Open has grown to impressive new heights, last year attracting 605,000 fans, compared to 250,000 back in 1988," he said.
"The Open also makes a significant contribution to Victoria, generating around 1,000 full time jobs and raising the tourism profile of our great city with almost 240 million viewers worldwide.
"Now is the time to take a look at how we can refresh and improve this terrific precinct to ensure it remains a world-class facility and continues to meet the needs of the tournament."
The President of Tennis Australia Geoff Pollard said he was delighted with the strong support shown to the Australian Open, and tennis in Australia from the Victorian Government.
"Tennis Australia is excited by the proposal to upgrade Melbourne Park to ensure the Australian Open remains in Melbourne for the long term. We look forward to working with the Brumby Government to finalize a capital works program and new commercial and operating agreements," Pollard said.