Inquiry into Victoria canning Commonwealth Games

A Victorian parliamentary inquiry will examine the Andrews Government’s cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games – despite a last-ditch government effort to divert it.

Photo: AAP/James Ross

Photo: AAP/James Ross

A motion to set up a nine-member select committee into the saga passed the upper house 25 votes to 15 on Wednesday morning.

All members of the cross bench voted in favour of the motion.

The Victorian government sought to move an amendment to request the auditor-general probe the cancellation instead, but it failed 19-21.

The auditor-general has already written to the opposition to confirm it is considering investigating the cancellation after an earlier referral.

Opposition upper house leader Georgie Crozier said a parliamentary inquiry was needed to restore trust in government and provide answers.

“It needs to be undertaken so we can get to the bottom of what went wrong,” she told the chamber.

Premier Daniel Andrews last month announced Victoria would pull out of hosting the 2026 Games, citing a forecast rise in cost from $2.6 billion to between $6 billion and $7 billion.

The cost to Victorian taxpayers of breaking the Games contract remains a mystery, with settlement negotiations ongoing amid unconfirmed estimates ranging from ten to hundreds of millions.

The inquiry will investigate potential failures in governance, probity and procurement processes in the Victorian government’s bid, contract and termination of the Games.

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It will also look at the cancellation’s impact on the business community, tourism, and major events, as well as the advice government received from departments, councils, agencies, consultants, and contractors.

The committee will be made up of three government, three coalition and three crossbench members.

It will provide an interim report by April 30, 2024, and final report by April 2025.

Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said the cancellation had to be probed by a select committee because existing committees were government-controlled.

“The current system in Victoria to scrutinise government has been gutted by Labor,” she told reporters.

She said the inquiry could run side-by-side with the audit to add an extra layer of scrutiny.

-with AAP

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