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Australia Commonwealth Games 2026: Victoria cancels event after costs blow out to $7bn | Commonwealth Games

Australia Commonwealth Games 2026: Victoria cancels event after costs blow out to $7bn | Commonwealth Games

The 2026 Commonwealth Games may not go ahead after Victoria withdrew as host, saying it was not prepared to spend as much as $7bn on “a 12-day sporting event”.

In an announcement labelled by the Commonwealth Games Federation as “hugely disappointing”, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, said the cost of hosting the event had blown out from an earlier estimate of $2.6bn.

Andrews said his government would redirect the money to regional housing and sporting infrastructure.

“The Games will not proceed in Victoria in 2026,” Andrews said.

“We have informed Commonwealth Games authorities of our decision to seek to terminate the contract, and to … not host the games.”

The CGF took aim at the Victorian premier’s justification and said it was only given eight hours’ notice of the announcement.

“Since awarding Victoria the Games, the government has made decisions to include more sports and an additional regional hub, and changed plans for venues, all of which have added considerable expense, often against the advice of the CGF and Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA),” the CGF said in a statement.

“We are disappointed that we were only given eight hours’ notice and that no consideration was given to discussing the situation to jointly find solutions prior to this decision being reached by the government.

“Up until this point, the government had advised that sufficient funding was available to deliver the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

Andrews on Tuesday said the decision was made after cost estimates reached $7bn.

“What’s become clear is that the cost of hosting these games in 2026 is not the $2.6bn which was budgeted and allocated,” he said.

“It is in fact at least $6bn and could be as high as $7bn – and I cannot stand here and say to you that I have any confidence that even [the] $7bn number would appropriately and adequately fund these Games.”

The Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told reporters that the decision was “made by the Victorian government” and he would leave details to them.

Asked if the decision was an embarrassment, Albanese noted Australia’s “fine record of hosting events”, citing the upcoming women’s football World Cup and the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

Other Australian states have ruled out hosting the Games.

The Commonwealth Games Australia’s chief executive, Craig Phillips, said the first he had heard of the new cost estimates were early on Tuesday morning.

“The stated costs overrun, in our opinion, are a gross exaggeration and not reflective of the operational costs presented to the Victoria 2026 Organising Committee board as recently as June,” he said.

In 2022 the state government announced that the Games would be hosted across regional Victorian centres, including Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton, after reports the CGF had been struggling to find a location.

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