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Shock announcement sees Victoria Government withdraw from hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games

Shock announcement sees Victoria Government withdraw from hosting 2026 Commonwealth Games
July 18, 2023

Citing potential costs of $7 billion, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has this morning announced that the state will relinquish its hosting rights for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Having bid, and subsequently planned, for the Games to be a "predominantly regional" event using existing infrastructure, the Victorian Government has seen costs rise beyond its initial projected budget of $2.6 billion.

While expected to deliver economic and tourism benefits to regional centres, Premier Andrews advised this morning that costs had almost tripled since the hosting announcement was made.

Speaking at press conference this morning, he advised “this is not a difficult decision in many respects.”

Explaining the withdrawal from hosting and the issues that led to it Premier Andrews advised "last year when the Commonwealth Games Authorities approached us, needed someone to step in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, as a state we were happy to help out.

"But, of course, not at any price and only if there was lasting benefit.

"What's become clear is that the cost of hosting these Games in 2026 is not the $2.6 billion which was budgeted. It is, in fact, at least $6 billion and could be as high as $7 billion.

"$6 to $7 billion is well and truly too much for a 12-day sporting event.

"I will not take money out of hospitals and schools in order to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year."

He went on to say that he had no "confidence" that even $7 billion would appropriately fund the Games, noting "I think it could be more than that.”

Notice to Commonwealth Games Federation
Premier Andrews said discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation,currently known as Commonwealth Sport, about the withdrawal from the hosting have been amicable, and are still ongoing, even though it leaves the CGF without a host for the 2026 edition of its main event.

Premier Andrews stated "we have had discussions last night and those discussions are not over, they have been amicable, they have been particularly productive and they will continue.

"It is fair to say, a multi-city Commonwealth Games that had never been delivered before and they were estimates that were made and those estimates are clearly well and truly under the actual cost."

Regional Fund
Premier Andrews went on to advise that $2 billion set aside for the Commonwealth Games will be allocated to a new "regional fund".

He added “there are a number of features to that. First and foremost, each and every one of the permanent sporting facilities that were to be legacy benefits from the Games will be built..

"There is a very substantial regional tourism fund. There'll be a substantial package of support for community- based sport and perhaps most importantly there will be a $1 billion boost for social and affordable housing right across regional Victoria."

With no other nations, states or cities bidding to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Victoria won the rights to host the event last year as a regional event with planned major hubs in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and the Gippsland regions, with athlete’s villages in each location.

The opening ceremony was to be held at the MCG.

The Games was to see athletes and officials from 72 nations and territories compete in 20 sports and nine para events.

Images: Concept for the closing ceremony of the the 2026 Commonwealth Games at Geelong's GMBHA Stadium (top) and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (below).

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder and Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

In 2020, he launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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