Senate Committee Recommends Australia ‘Salvage’ 2026 Commonwealth Games

by Riley Overend 9

September 19th, 2023 Australia, International, News

A Senate committee in Australia has recommended for the federal government to “get its hands dirty” to salvage the 2026 Commonwealth Games after Victoria paid hundreds of millions of dollars to withdraw as hosts last month rather than manage a ballooning budget approaching $4.5 billion USD.

The Australian state of Victoria initially won the bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games last April, but premier Daniel Andrews announced in July that Victoria was pulling out as hosts because of rising costs that would have more than doubled the initial $1.8 billion estimate.

The report released on Thursday was chaired by senator Matt Canavan, who criticized Andrews for using the 2026 Commonwealth Games bid as a political pawn to further his own career.

“There is no doubt in my mind Daniel Andrews and his government used the people of regional Victoria for his base political purpose in an election campaign,” Canavan said. “He made the promise just before an election to get their support, and just after he dumped them on the side of the road like a trash can. It’s no way to treat your own people. I just wish the Victorian government show a bit more diligence in the future.”

The report warned that withdrawing as hosts could threaten Victoria’s “enviable reputation as a world-class destination for major sporting events.” The inquiry concluded that the federal government should organize a task force featuring all three levels of government “to examine options to salvage the Commonwealth Games,” pointing out that a “reduced or decentralized” format might be necessary.

Andrews called the Senate committee’s report a “political stunt.”

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said it was willing to postpone the 2026 edition by a year to accommodate a new host, but that might not be enough incentive to attract a suitor given the growing budget concerns. A former top official in the organization told The Telegraph that “the Games brand is taking a major hit to its reputation.” The source added that the CGF needs to take “immediate and radical action” to “save the event.”

“If the Games are to continue, and there are no guarantees right now, they will need to look very different and clearly they will be far smaller in scale and cost,” the former CGF executive said. “It looks increasingly likely that Birmingham 2022 will be the last Games on a major multi-sport scale given the lack of appetite from Governments to host the competition in its current format.”

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Fukuoka Gold
2 days ago

Lol why

3 days ago

** FYI, it’s “Senator Matt Canavan” not Caravan **

Would be a shame to lose these games forever, absolute stepping stone for many a young athlete. I am still hopeful Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is able to rally the troops to make it happen on the Gold Coast again in 26.

Reply to  SHRKB8
2 days ago

I think there are too many logistical issues with this, but I agree that would be a great solution if they can make it work. Would probably need to drop some sports at the very least.

M d e
Reply to  SHRKB8
2 days ago

Absolutely HUGE for sponsorship opportunities in Australian Olympic sports too.

Reply to  M d e
2 days ago

Was the case a few decades back when CG was the level where AUS stood out ……… and Olympic medals were scarce. Nowadays an Olympic gold far from guarantees you any real $$$ from the corporate sector.

3 days ago

If its going to survive they need to reduce the amount of sports : swimming , athletics, cycling , boxing , diving , netball, gymnastics . This will decrease the budget needed to be spent to host but also appealing to the public with the most watchable sports

Reply to  kevin
2 days ago

Good idea- and why not spread it out over a few cities, each with a couple of sports. Could be done on a minimal budget. Call it AUS26

Reply to  Torchbearer
2 days ago

That’s the kind of Australian ingenuity that literally created this problem. The crux of the budget bloat was the expense of spreading it over multiple cities.

Reply to  Swimapologist
2 days ago

I didnt mean over small cities with no facilities like Moe and Bendigo- I mean Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide…2 sports each….nothing needed to build, no village, plenty of hotels…. Each state could do this in their sleep.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

Read More »