Fresh push for Albanese govt to step in and ‘salvage’ 2026 Commonwealth Games after Victoria pulled out of hosting the event

Fresh push for Albanese govt to step in and ‘salvage’ 2026 Commonwealth Games after Victoria pulled out of hosting the event
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

The Albanese government is being urged to step in to ensure the 2026 Commonwealth Games can still be held in Australia.

The event was meant to be held across regional Victoria but the Andrews government pulled out of hosting duties in July because of a massive cost blowout.

A Senate committee which probed Victoria’s decision recommended on Thursday the federal government take on “a facilitation and coordination role in order to salvage the 2026 Commonwealth Games being held in Australia”.

In an interim report tabled in parliament, the committee said the federal government should implement three key measures by the end of the year in a bid to keep the games Down Under.

These include an intergovernmental forum “to examine options to salvage” the games and directing two departments “to produce low, medium and high funding options” for the government so the event can go ahead in three years time.

The federal government is under pressure to ensure the 2026 Commonwealth Games can still be held in Australia after Victoria pulled out of hosting duties. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

The federal government is under pressure to ensure the 2026 Commonwealth Games can still be held in Australia after Victoria pulled out of hosting duties. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

The third point states “subject to the above, and in coordination with any other relevant stakeholders, including Gold Coast City Council and other local governments, enter into discussions with Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia about prospects for hosting the games, including a reduced or decentralised games if necessary”.

The committee also recommended that if an approach cannot be agreed on to salvage the games, the federal government then “develops a policy to address the missed opportunities and impacts from the cancellation of Victoria 2026”.

The Albanese government has also been urged to develop “guidelines for future major sporting events which make Commonwealth funding, regulatory, policy and operational support conditional on state and territory governments being required to notify the Australian Government well in advance of cancelling, or making major changes to, a major sporting event for which hosting rights have been awarded”.

Another recommendation is to encourage “the Victorian government to prioritise the delivery of its $2 billion alternative rural and regional funding package”.

The Victorian government had budgeted $2.6 billion for the games last year but in July it was revealed the event was instead expected to cost between $6 to $7 billion.

The chair of the Senate committee Matt Canavan said “the nation was shocked” when Mr Andrews cancelled the event.

Mr Canavan said while “no one is blaming the federal government for this monumental stuff up, it’s squarely at the feet of the Victorian government”, the Albanese government needed to act to protect Australia’s reputation. 

“It was often said to our committee the problem we have here is that while the Victorian government has cancelled these games, ultimately if we do not proceed with the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the world will blame Australia for that happening,” he said. 

“It will be our reputation, our nation who are on the hook for it. And so our committee’s report is making a simple request of the government, and that is to get their hands dirty and try and help with solutions here.

“Now maybe there can’t be a solution. Maybe it’s too expensive, maybe it’s too difficult, but at the moment the federal government you must say is doing next to nothing to help and that’s being generous.”   

SOURCE: SKYNEWS

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