Victoria cancels event after funding issues
Victoria’s withdrawal places the future of the Games in doubt given the challenge of finding replacement hosts three years before the event.
The CGF said it was “taking advice” on the options available and remain committed to “finding a solution” for the Games in 2026.
The Games have struggled to spark global appeal in recent years. No countries other than Australia bid for the 2026 Games and only one country other than Britain and Australia has hosted the event since 1998.
In 2017, Durban was stripped of the 2022 Games after the South African city failed to meet project deadlines. The event was later awarded to Birmingham.
The budgeted $2.6 billion for the 2026 Games, due to take place between March 17-29, would have seen them held across five sites in regional Victoria: Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton. The state was initially expecting the Federal Government to foot the bill for half of the costs, the majority of which would have gone towards infrastructure.
However, the Federal Government’s budget in May included more than $1 billion towards the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games, but nothing for the 2026 Games.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese did not provide further insight when quizzed about the cancellation on Tuesday.
“That’s a decision made by the Victorian Government,” he told reporters.
Mr Andrews said factors such as security, transport and other logistical services contributed to the rising costs.
The premier faced a barrage of questions from reporters, who grilled him over how the cost estimates could have been so far off the mark, with one reporter comparing it to building a house.
“I don’t think you’d build it, mate,” Mr Andrews replied.
The legacy benefits from the Games will still be delivered, Mr Andrews claimed, as he announced a regional package worth over $2 billion to build the permanent sporting facilities in the state.
Axing of Games ‘embarrassing’
Conservative MPs were quick to slam Victoria’s Labor Government over the termination, describing the move as “embarrassing”.
“Losing the Commonwealth Games is embarrassing. But let’s not forget it is a symptom of a state that has the highest debt and the highest tax. What else are we missing out on? Victorians deserve better,” Liberal MP Keith Wolahan wrote on Twitter.