Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said Victoria will no longer host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to major cost blowouts, which could extend to three times the original $2.6b budget.
Mr Andrews made the announcement on Tuesday, and said he had informed the Commonwealth Games authorities the state would seek to terminate the contract.
He said the subsequent meetings had been “amicable and productive”.
While the original cost for hosting the games was estimated to be $2.6b, new projections could see the 12-day sporting event balloon to $7b.
“Today it’s not about finding fault with those cost estimates,” he said.
“I will not take money out of hospitals and schools in order to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.”
In lieu of the games, Mr Andrews announced the government would deliver the legacy benefits of the “housing, sporting infrastructure and tourism,” benefits through other policies, using funds from the allocated $2.6b budget.
A bulk of the legacy benefits will focus on delivering more housing to regional communities, in the hub areas of Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, and Gippsland, where the games were slated to occur.
“This is not a difficult decision in many respects, because it’s just quite obvious,” he said.
Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said the ballooning costs far outweighed the benefits of hosting the events.
“Each one of those sporting infrastructure facilities will be going ahead and we will be wanting to push on and complete those projects with those local communities following consultation with them,” she said.
She listed a number of programs and infrastructure projects which will be supported with the $2.6b investment, including stadium and sport centre upgrades.
More to come