No Australian city wants to host Commonwealth Games

The future of the 2026 Commonwealth Games is in limbo after every Australian state and territory ruled out their own hosting bids following Victoria’s shock decision to scrap the event.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces the state has canned the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Photo: AAP/James Ross

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces the state has canned the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Photo: AAP/James Ross

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday said the state could not go ahead with the Games as the price tag had blown out to more than double the initial estimate.

“We are not going to spend six to $7 billion running a 12 day sporting event,” Andrews told reporters.

That figure has been fiercely disputed by organisers who claim the government ignored cost-cutting options such as moving the event to Melbourne to use existing sports stadia and facilities.

South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory quickly ruled out making their own bids to run the event .

NSW Premier Chris Minns said his state was not in a position due to record debt and a need to follow through on election promises, while Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said she was focused on the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane.

Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips said Victoria’s decision was “beyond disappointing” and said the cost the Premier quoted was double what Victorian organisers had told Games officials only last month.

He hoped another Australian region could step in to host, however no leader has volunteered to take on the event.

“We know there is strong interest in the Games and strong love of the Games here in Australia,” Phillips said.

“We’ll re-set after this and move on, and look to see whether we can continue to be the host nation for 2026.”

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Victoria was the only bidder for the Games with five regional cities originally slated to host sporting events.

The state government has promised to still pump $2b into the regions through housing, infrastructure and tourism.

Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning boxer Harry Garside said he was disappointed by the decision.

“I’m just trying my best to stay positive and fingers crossed we can sort something out,” he said.

Business and industry groups were concerned Victoria’s reputation as a major events destination had been jeopardised but welcomed efforts to rein in state debt, which is forecast to top $171b by 2027.

It’s the second time a Games host has dropped out in recent years, after South African city Durban lost the 2022 event and Birmingham stepped in take over.

The Commonwealth Games was last cancelled during World War II.

-with AAP

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