The Parliamentary inquiry hearings into the cancellation of the 2026 regional Commonwealth Games got underway this week, with the cost of abandoning the Games expected to have exceeded $500 million.
This includes $380M in compensation, $43M in operating grants, over $21M for athletes’ villages, $19M on competition venues and over $6M for Victoria Police security initiatives.
These are only the costs that we know about, with other associated costs committed to, and still to be revealed and a final figure yet to be determined.
The Nationals Member for Shepparton District, Kim O’Keeffe, said it was appalling that Premier Jacinta Allan would not give evidence at the public hearings.
“As the former Minister for the Commonwealth Games Delivery, Premier Allan should willingly provide insight into how costs blew out from $2.5 billion to almost $8 billion, that led to the shock cancellation of the Games that no one saw coming.”
The inquiry will also look at what led to the cancellation of the Games, including the advice provided to the government. It will also examine the impact of the cancellation on Victoria’s reputation and the state’s business and tourism sector.
“The Government must take responsibility for their financial decisions and the massive detrimental impact their financial mismanagement is having on our state,” said Ms O’Keeffe.
“Half a billion dollars of Victorian taxpayers’ money has been wasted on the Commonwealth Games debacle, and the former Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery, Premier Allan, won’t give evidence.
“This Government continues to waste taxpayer’s money, money that could have been spent on our unsafe crumbling roads and building homes that the community desperately needs.
“For regions like Shepparton District, the economic benefits of hosting the Games have been lost, and while the Government promised upgrades to the Shepparton BMX track which was to host events, there is no detail or financial commitment to that project.
“I also question how the need and the costs of the works at the BMX track are being determined, and if that is where we should be now investing those funds? There are many unanswered questions and that is why we are having this inquiry.
“We are in a housing crisis, and I have called for the region to be included in Labor’s $1 billion Regional housing fund that was promised after cancelling the Games.
“The Minister for Housing said a fair distribution will occur over regional Victoria. I have asked for that investment into our region, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness across the state.
“The Government wants to talk about legacy from the infrastructure committed following the cancellation of the Commonwealth Games with no commitment to our region, no detail, no time frames, or clarity.
“Victoria already has a higher debt than Queensland, NSW, and Tasmania combined, at a cost of $15 million ‘per day’ in interest which is astonishing, and to think we now have additional significant debt from the Commonwealth Games cancellation debacle.
“This government proves time and time again that they cannot financially manage the state and the consequences is less investment where we desperately need it.
People can still make a submission as part of the inquiry until Monday, October 23, 2023.
For more information, visit new.parliament.vic.gov.au/get-involved/inquiries/inquiry-into-the-2026-commonwealth-games-bid/