Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate’s major announcement on Commonwealth Games’ future

Dec 04, 2023
Source: Getty Images.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has pulled his bid for the city to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, leaving residents and officials alike in suspense about the future of the grand sporting event.

Tate, who has been a vocal advocate for bringing the prestigious games back to the glittering coastline, dropped the bombshell announcement in a statement on Sunday, December 3.

The decision to not move forward with the bid was not an easy one, according to Tate, and came after several factors were thoroughly poured over.

“We did our best and that’s all people can expect,” Tate said in a statement.

“In simple terms, it seems our Games’ vision doesn’t align with the vision of the state or federal governments.”

While Tate’s proposal will not move forward, he revealed that it “would have delivered billions into the national economy and given athletes, and para-athletes, a clear pathway towards the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and Paralympics and then on to the 2032 Games in Queensland.”

Tate’s choice to withdraw the Gold Coast’s bid for the games has thrown the future of the event into uncertainty, as no other states have stepped forward to shoulder the hosting responsibilities.

The Commonwealth Games 2026 were due to take place in Victoria after the state won the hosting bid in April 2022. At the time Victorian Premier Dan Andrews welcomed the announcement as an “honour” and said Victoria “could not wait to welcome the world to the state”.

However, in a controversial turn of events in June, Andrews pulled the plug on the sporting spectacle citing financial concerns. He claimed the cost of holding the predominantly regional event had nearly tripled to around $7 billion.

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

“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.”

Source: Getty Images.

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.

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