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Frequently Asked Questions


When will the project be completed?

December 2020 is the anticipated date of completion. Visit the Construction page for a more detailed timeline.

Who are Kane Constructions and why was a non-local contractor appointed the tender?

Kane Constructions are a multi award winning, privately owned commercial construction company that has extensive experience in building quality contemporary buildings, including in regional areas such as Ararat, Geelong and Ballarat.

Kane Constructions who have been responsible for such iconic buildings as the $45M Geelong Library and Heritage Centre, Geelong Performing Arts Centre Redevelopment (Stage 2) and $100M Ballarat GovHub.

Founded in 1971, Kane has successfully completed over 2,000 projects across all sectors of the industry.

The successful company will be required to use a component of local suppliers and employees to assist with the build.

Council wish to recognise that a previously listed statement in relation to the SAM project indicating that “there were no local tenderers”, was incorrect. Council apologies for any misunderstanding that this may have created and for any impression that this may have given that a local commercial builder such as Hansen Yuncken did not tender. This was an administrative error which was not part of the tender evaluation process and the statement was removed when brought to our attention. Council were well aware of Hansen Yuncken’s heritage during discussions about the tender evaluation.

Hansen Yuncken was established as a partnership in Melbourne in 1918 and it was in 1925 that the company came to Shepparton to build the Ardmona and Shepparton Canneries. The company has had a permanent office presence in Shepparton ever since and has constructed countless buildings throughout Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley for the past 94 years. Its continued Shepparton presence is a testament to the ongoing relationships with the local trades and suppliers that Hansen Yuncken highly values.

Council thanks Hansen Yuncken for participating in the SAM tender process along with the other tenderers and recognise that tendering is a costly exercise.

How can Council build on a former petrol station site so quickly? What about contamination?

There is no regulatory requirement to hold contaminants onsite, and no withholding period. Environmental testing was undertaken for soil contaminants and remediation works were undertaken to remove soil and replace with clean fill. Contaminated soil can be removed and taken to an appropriate licenced landfill or treatment facility.

The Building - What the new SAM will be

What will be different about the new SAM?

The new SAM is much more than an art gallery. It will actually be more of a community space. The new SAM will feature:

  • A café and outdoor terrace.
  • An upstairs bar and event space with roof top decking, which will be available for public bookings.
  • Home to Kaiela Arts to showcase and celebrate Indigenous art and support local Indigenous artists.
  • Home to the Visitor Centre for visitors to find out all about Greater Shepparton.
  • A children’s gallery and education space.
  • A community gallery for local artists to celebration and showcase their work.
  • An amphitheatre.
  • Retail shop.
  • Education/workshop space.
  • Gallery spaces which will feature permanent and travelling exhibitions and activities. Exhibitions and activities will be aimed at a broad range of interests.


What is the Feasibility Study into a new art museum and why did we do it?

The core driver of the study into a new art museum for Shepparton, was to investigate the feasibility of a game changing project which would strengthen the economic and social base for the city, by encouraging a diversification of industry in the region, and significantly growing the desirability of Shepparton as a place to live, work and invest.

In addition, the Museum has currently outgrown its current site with collection storage areas full. A $2m plus collection of Aboriginal art has been offered to the Museum as a gift, although there is currently nowhere to store or present it.

There were also broad ranging social drivers for the study encompassing many areas of the region’s core issues in the creation of a sustainable economy and thriving, resilient community. These included aspects such as:

  • providing a major piece of publically accessible infrastructure (public space) for the coming together of community
  • to strengthen the environmental base giving visibility to the opportunities of the river and its surrounds
  • to grow educational opportunities by creating a significantly expanded resource for students, and
  • to expand mainstream visibility of Aboriginal cultural heritage, strengthening the region’s capability to engage in reconciliation.

Greater Shepparton City Council and the Victorian Government each contributed $125,000 towards the feasibility study.

What did the Report say?

The Study provides an exciting picture about the ability of a new SAM to propel forward economic and social growth for the region, through the creation of a major cultural and educational tourist attraction which will drive visitation and dramatically improve perceptions of Greater Shepparton as a place to visit, live and invest.

The Business Case advises that ‘the project’, (as defined within the Business Case) to build a new Shepparton Art Museum is feasible, conditional upon a number of milestones being achieved.

The vision for the new Art Museum is recommended as follows.

SAM will be a museum with the artist at its centre, a meeting place for the region’s people, providing
captivating art experiences and connection to the Aboriginality and multi-cultural origins of the regions

Four core vision statements follow this highlighting:

  1. A Museum with artists and art activity at its core
  2. An architecturally inspiring community piazza for the coming together of diverse communities
  3. Transparent art collections, improving access to the collection to be viewed in new and exciting ways, with the ceramic store visible to the public
  4. A Museum designed for children and families

What is it going to cost?

Stage 1: $47.4m (excluding GST)

Stage 2: $2.5m (excluding GST)

Why is the cost to build the new SAM higher than anticipated?

During the construction tender evaluation process it was identified that bids received were above the adopted build budget, with bids ranging from $47.3M to $51.7M (including GST). The difference between the expected versus market value of the build of the new SAM is attributed to an acute increase in construction materials, in particularly concrete and steel, due to significant generational construction works currently being undertaken across the state.

Related Article: "Victoria’s Big Build Pipeline Boosting Construction", on the Victorian Premier's website.

With more than $100 billion worth of new roads, rail lines, hospitals, multistorey buildings, wind and solar farms and other infrastructure being built in Victoria, a consequence of the boom is large scale demand for materials, especially concrete and steel. This leads to unanticipated cost escalation for large scale projects such as the new SAM. The reality therefore is that the high demand from major infrastructure projects has pushed up prices of these materials which was not expected. 

How is the additional funding being sourced?

Via the Hon Damian Drum MP, the Federal Government has committed a further $5M to the build (total Federal Government investment is now $15M).

The SAM Foundation is now to contribute an additional $2.5M towards construction (total SAM Foundation contribution to building the new SAM is now $7M.

A staged approach to construction will see the main building completed in Stage 1; Stage 2 will include the likes of landscaping, parking, and specialist equipment. A range of funding programs are being explored to assist with the funding of Stage 2.

Why do we need a new Art Museum in Shepparton? Why build a new SAM?

A new SAM enables Greater Shepparton to diversify its industry base, which has traditionally been based on agriculture and manufacturing.

The new SAM will also add to the mix of activities on offer for our community in addition to sport, festivals, shopping and dining etc.

The new SAM provides an economic benefit with net current value of $9.15M at the end of 10 years, as opposed to a negative $10.3M impact of the ‘do nothing’ option. Hence a new SAM improves the Victorian community’s economic welfare by $19.45M after 10 years of operation, with this net benefit growing after the tenth year. The lion’s share of the benefits to the Victorian community will accrue to residents of the Shepparton region.

Further, during construction a significant percentage of the construction costs would flow directly to the Shepparton community equating to a total output including multiplying factors, of $58.1M over the two year construction period, and equating to the creation of 72 direct jobs and a total of 181 jobs including all direct, industrial and consumption effects, across the region.

It is further anticipated that a significant percentage of trade packages awarded will be to sub-contractors and suppliers from the Greater Shepparton region.

The economic analysis of the new Art Museum goes on to identify that in year one of operation 21 per cent of visitors would be tourists to the region representing 7,000 visitor nights which would grow to 323,500 visitor nights at year 10 of operation and a tourist spend generating from the Art Museum alone of $3.1M annually.

The building of SAM which will attract more visitors will also assist in advocating for other Greater Shepparton infrastructure needs such as the Goulburn Valley Highway Bypass and increased and improved passenger rail services. 

Since the opening on the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart in 2011, Hobart has experienced an increase in population growth, visitor numbers and investment, particularly in new hotels and tourism associated infrastructure.

The Bendigo Art Gallery exhibitions and events have contributed to a more than 3.5 million domestic and international day trippers and overnight stayers visiting the Bendigo Loddon region from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 injecting $517M into the local economy. Events such the Marilyn Monroe exhibition, was a strong contributed to the increase in visitor numbers.

Why don’t we leave things as they are?

The ‘do nothing’ option identifies a decline in annual economic activity in Greater Shepparton equalling negative $10.73m by 2024. This decline is founded on the Museum losing current and future opportunities, a declining competitive advantage over time and consistent drop in tourist visitation effecting spending in the region. However SAM will also lose one of the most significant collections of Aboriginal art, which will not be gifted if the project does not go ahead.

An important consideration with the ‘do nothing’ option, is that a new Art Museum in Shepparton will not be able to be revisited for some decades, with supporting interests taking their resources elsewhere.

Other considerations are that the $2m+ Gantner Aboriginal Art collection and the $1.5m Copulos Family pledge will not be gifted, and the community will suffer a blow with respect to other potential partnerships
and philanthropic activity in the region.

SAM has recently had a refurbishment. Do we really need a new building?

The refurbishment of the current SAM was completed in February 2012 and included taking over exhibition floor space, including a dedicated community gallery space to house the growing art collection, and did not provide SAM with any additional space. The collection storage facility at SAM is full, requiring any major artworks coming into the collection to be located off site in the future.

An instigating event which spurred momentum forward for SAM was the pledge of Carrillo and Ziyin Gantner to bequest their $2m+ collection of Aboriginal art to the Shepparton Art Museum should a facility capable of housing and displaying the collection progress and a number of other contingent measures met. This is because the current SAM can neither store nor showcase this collection. Following on in 2014, the Copulos Family pledged $1.5m over 10 years to the new SAM.

Did they consider a range of site options?

The Project Management Board provided the consultants with a site matrix which indicated possible requirements of the site and scope for a rating and ranking system to be applied to them. They identified five possible sites which fitted within the site requirements to be investigated. This advice and local knowledge of the region was taken on board by the consultants, and in a survey of the project objectives, and the region, agreed to as the sites requiring investigation. These sites were:

  1. Immediately behind the current SAM building, over an existing parking area
  2. Over the top of Monash Park
  3. In the north west corner of Victoria Park
  4. In the south east corner of Victoria Park
  5. In the south western corner of Victoria Park

The Phase 2 Options Report identified and evaluated potential sites for a new art museum, against requirements of the site such as size, proximity to the train station and CBD, ownership/cost of land acquisition, zoning and the capacity to fundraise for a Museum located at a particular site. Three sites were raised by individuals during the consultation process, however were ‘one-off’ suggestions.

  1. The Ardmona Factory, Mooroopna, which was discounted due to it being privately owned and not located within walking distance to the Shepparton CBD and main train service.
  2. Nagambie, as part of a wider Settlement Museum concept, was discounted due to it being too far out of Shepparton to attract staff and regular local use (50km).
  3. Taking over more of the existing Council building as a consequence of moving ‘back of house’ Council offices 6km south east to the Doyles Road site, was also discounted due to the move not being a Council priority, and an inability to fundraise for the refurbishment of an office building.

Does the Business Case align with the Victoria Park Lake Masterplan?

Yes. The proposed new Sam project aligns with the Victoria Park Lake Masterplan. The plan to create an elevated building, with a reduced footprint at the site of the existing Shell Service Station on Victoria Park Lake has also been endorsed by the Catchment Management Authority.

What will happen to the Caravan Park?

A second Feasibility Study concurrently undertaken related to the Victoria Park Lake caravan park advises the caravan park is operating at 20 per cent occupancy and is in poor condition. The study recommends the Victorian Park Lake Masterplan be reviewed and updated to include an overall precinct solution for the southern end of Victoria Park Lake which includes SAM, accommodation options, such as eco cabins, a four star caravan park and public park land.

Who oversaw the Feasibility Project and what did it deliver?

Simon McArthur and Associates commenced work in August 2014 completing their report in January 2015. A Project Board was established including representatives of the SAM Foundation, Regional Development Victoria, and Council staff who met regularly to oversee the project.

The final reports comprise three documents; the Executive Summary, the Business Case and Attachments were received on Monday 19 January 2015 signalling the completion of the Feasibility Study.

The Feasibility Study was undertaken to determine and assess the options for a future new facility for SAM and provide recommendations for the delivery of the preferred option. The purpose of the Study was to identify the available options for SAM to grow its program, collections, and impact in the region.

The Study identifies and assesses options for the growth of SAM, including the viability of a new Museum and provides recommendation to address the current constraints and opportunities.

Did the consultants consider taking-over existing Council offices and relocating Council administration?

Cornerstone issues which are incumbent to gaining support for the project are the building of an iconic purpose built, stand-alone building, and a significant, high profile public site. External funders will not support a refurbishment of an existing building nor the funding of a Council administration building. Should the administration building be repurposed for an expanded Art Museum and the Council Administration be relocated to a new facility, the cost of this project would be borne by the Council alone.

This is an option although it is likely to cost Council more than the existing proposal, while also reducing the social and economic impact of the new Art Museum. This is due to the lowered capacity to attract tourist visitation, and the reduced impact of this concept, in comparison to a landmark facility at the lake site.

A second feasibility study into this option could be funded by the Council although would not be supported with matched funds from the State Government.

Who was involved in the consultation process?

Three hundred members of the community were involved in the consultation process to see if it was worthwhile progressing to a Business Case stage for the new SAM. Following this, a further 150 people were interviewed one-on-one to further identify if there was significant interest in creating a new SAM.

Two rounds of consultation were held throughout the research and a total of 11 workshops.

The Business Case was put out for public consultation with 1,781 responses received, with 76% in support of the Business Case recommendations. All members of the community were invited to participate in this consultation.

An online platform ‘Share your idea for a new SAM’ generated 100 ideas for the new Museum. The consultants also tested the market with three visitor experience concepts, reaching out to a targeted demographic through phone research and solicited 300 participants who were surveyed.

1,398 people responded to the public opportunity to have input into the proposed new SAM design options. All members of the community were invited to participate in this consultation.

How will the new Art Museum be run?

The Business Case advises that a publicly owned company limited by guarantee is the only effective way for the Council to share the expanded operating risks of a new Art Museum, and to secure capital and operating funds required if the project is to be feasible. The Council cannot deliver the project on its own.

The report recommends SAM transition to a Company Limited by Guarantee that is governed by board on which the Council is represented. It recommends the Board comprise individuals with designated skills relevant to a significant cultural institution, able to assist the Council in its objectives.

The consultants advise that the new SAM project is feasible contingent upon this governance model, and that the project cannot be otherwise be realised, as the private funds required would be unable to be raised under an alternative model.

Who will own the art collection and the new building?

The report recommends that the existing collection remain in the ownership of the Council. The report recommends that the new Art Museum facility will also be owned by the Council, and provided to the Art Museum for a peppercorn rent. The report recommends that the Art Museum may also accept and own works of art, which will enable gifts to the Museum which would otherwise not occur, with private donors often unwilling to give art to a local government entity.

Is the Business Case in line with the Council Plan?

Yes. The undertaking of a feasibility study into a new SAM is listed as a key activity to be achieved in the 2013-17 Council Plan:

Active & Engaged Community (Social)

  1. Value arts culture and heritage as an integral part of our dynamic community.
    • Establish the Shepparton Art Museum Foundation.
    • Continue the feasibility investigations for a new location for the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM).

Economic Prosperity (Economic)

  1. Maximise opportunities to ensure Greater Shepparton leads Victoria, retaining and attracting education and industry.
    • Develop and implement a Strategy which identifies resources needed to attract new business and industry to Greater Shepparton as well as retaining our existing businesses and industry.
    • Develop and implement a strategy promoting Shepparton as the regional capital.

Is the proposal in line with the Greater Shepparton 2030 Strategy?

The proposal is in line with the GS2030 strategy to develop tourist attractions, create opportunities for diverse cultural engagement, and develop new income streams.

In particular the GS2030 Strategy, report no 3. Community Life Objective 2, `To encourage and implement activities that will strengthen community spirit’ and Economic Development Objective 2’ to develop the Shepparton CBD as the regional centre for commerce and entertainment.