Victoria pulls pin on 2026 Commonwealth Games

The Malinauskas Government says it has “no intention” of making an offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, after Victoria this morning cancelled the event due to a massive cost blowout.

Jul 18, 2023, updated Jul 18, 2023

The rights to host the 2026 event were awarded to regional Victoria last year after Birmingham replaced South Africa’s Durban as host of the 2022 games.

But Premier Daniel Andrews announced a short time ago at a snap news conference that Victoria was cancelling hosting the event because it was clear the cost would exceed $6 billion.

“Last year when the Commonwealth Games authorities approached us and needed someone to step into 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 for Victorian communities and benefit for the whole state,” he said.

“What’s become clear is that the cost of hosting these games in 2026 is not the $2.6 billion which was budgeted and allocated and is sitting, the vast, vast majority of which has not been spent.

“It is not $2.6 billion, it is in fact at least $6 billion and could be as high as $7 billion and … I think it could be more than that.”

The Games were to be held from March 17-29, 2026.

Tuesday’s announcement comes about 18 months after Victoria made a solo bid for the 2026 event.

Andrews said this morning that Games authorities had been informed at “amicable and productive” meetings on Monday night.

“Our consultations with industry, all of our preparatory work tells us $6-7 billion is well and truly too much for a 12-day sporting event,” he said.

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

Instead, the Andrews government has announced a $2 billion regional funding package. It includes $1 billion for social housing in country Victoria – at least 1300 houses.

“Frankly, $6-7 billion for a sporting event – we are not doing that. That does not represent value for money, that is all cost and no benefit,” he said.

A Malinauskas Government spokesman today ruled out SA making a bid to host the 2026 Games.

“While this decision will be deeply disappointing for athletes and supporters of the Commonwealth Games, the South Australian Government has no intention of stepping in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” the spokesman said.

“Successive governments, both Liberal and Labor, have considered hosting the games and determined the cost would outweigh the economic benefit.

“The previous State Government conducted independent financial analysis on hosting the multi-sport competition, it was determined the event would cost $3.5 billion, with the economic benefit only amounting to $1.2 billion.

“The South Australian Government will continue to look to attract major events, but they must stack up and deliver economic benefits that outweigh the cost which has occurred with Gather Round, LIV Golf and the Adelaide 500.”

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