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.
The Andrews Government’s decision to scrap the 2026 Commonwealth Games is a massive humiliation for Victoria.
This decision is a betrayal of regional Victoria and confirms that Victoria is broke and Labor simply cannot manage major projects without huge cost blowouts. JP pic.twitter.com/AtixDEf4Dx
— John Pesutto (@JohnPesutto) July 17, 2023
Andrews’ move makes perfect sense; it’s better to invest money in things that will benefit the community as a whole but especially those with the greatest need.
— Margaret Brown (@mogbrown) July 18, 2023
Feeling for the Commonwealth Games athletes. As silly and doomed as the event is, a lot of good people train their hearts out to compete at them.
— Chris Bennetts????️???? (@benetsc) July 18, 2023
Great news. No one watches Commonwealth games anyway.
— Angry_Again (@Victa1600) July 18, 2023
Just cancel the Commonwealth Games completely. Completely irrelevant event.
— Matt Nicholls (@matt__nicholls) July 18, 2023
Talks with Commonwealth Games organisers are currently ongoing with no confirmation as yet if the event will be moved to another state.