BREAKING: Victorian Premier Dan Andrews pulls the plug on 2026 Commonwealth Games

Jul 18, 2023
The announcement received a mixed response from the public, with strong arguments being made on both sides. Source: Getty Images.

In a surprise announcement, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has left Victoria’s Commonwealth Games dreams in disarray after abruptly cancelling the 2026 event due to financial concerns.

Victoria was confirmed as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games in April 2022 and in a statement at the time, Andrews said “we can’t wait to welcome the world to all of our state.”

However, the Premier took a different tone on Tuesday, July 18 when he announced to reporters that Victoria would no longer be hosting the highly anticipated sporting event after costs surged beyond initial estimates.

“I’ve made a lot of difficult calls, a lot of very difficult decisions in this job,” Andrews said.

“This is not one of them. Frankly, $6b (or) $7b for a sporting event, we are not doing that. That does not represent value for money, that is all cost and no benefit.

“I will not take money out of hospitals and schools in order to fund an event that is three times the cost is estimated and budgeted for last year.”

Instead of funding the games, Andrews revealed that funds set aside for the Commonwealth Games would be redirected to provide a “massive boost” to regional Victoria.

“First and foremost, each and every one of the permanent sporting facilities that were to be legacy benefits from the Games will be built,” he said.

“There is a very substantial regional tourism fund and a substantial package of support for community-based sport and perhaps most importantly they will be a $1 billion boost for social and affordable housing right across regional Victoria and not just in those hub cities but they will be at least 1300 new homes constructed across regional Victoria.

“This represents a massive boost and a direct response to what is perhaps the biggest challenge across regional Victoria and indeed across our state and that is the supply of housing and the number of housing options that Victorians have before them.

“That is in many respects the biggest and best lasting legacy that we can leave, somewhere to live and a market that has more supply for those who need it.”

The announcement received a mixed response from the public, with strong arguments being made on both sides as some expressed understanding regarding Andrews’ decision due to cost concerns, while others expressed frustration over a missed opportunity.

Talks with Commonwealth Games organisers are currently ongoing with no confirmation as yet if  the event will be moved to another state.

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