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Full cost of Victoria’s Commonwealth Games cancellation comes to light

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Full cost of Victoria’s Commonwealth Games cancellation comes to light
A report by the Victorian Auditor-General’s office has laid bare the costs of Victoria’s withdrawal from hosting the sporting event in 2026.

According to the report, $589 million was spent on the state government’s failed attempt at hosting the world’s first regional Commonwealth Games.

The Victorian Government had allocated $2.6 billion towards the costs of hosting the Games, meaning the state shelled out more than 22 per cent of anticipated costs to very publicly not host the event.

At the time of the cancellation, Victoria’s then-premier, Daniel Andrews, said hosting costs had soared to at least $6 billion and possibly as high as $7 billion.

Of the $589 billion, the auditor-general determined $112 million had been spent on employee and operating costs by the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions, a further $38 million was spent on employee and operating costs of the Victorian Organising Committee for the Games and $42 million was spent on detailed planning and delivery cases for Commonwealth Games venues and athletes’ villages.

As previously reported, the Victorian Government also paid $380 million to the Commonwealth Games Federation in a confidential settlement for pulling the pin on hosting the event.

The auditor-general’s report found a variety of issues with the way Victoria’s attempt to host the Commonwealth Games unfolded.

In the summary of its findings on its website, the auditor-general’s office says “[the $589 million spend] would have been avoided if agencies had worked together better to give frank and full advice to the government before it decided to host the Games”.

The report flags failings and missed opportunities at various points of the event bidding and planning process, including that Victoria’s major events minister put forward a budget request for the lower cost option of hosting the Games, when a figure that was half a billion dollars more was recommended, that there was a missed opportunity to create a more accurate business case for hosting the event, once it was announced that Victoria was likely to be the host and that the benefits of hosting the event was overstated.

The auditor general also said that a greater range of options for hosting the Games should have been considered and that the $6.9 billion cost figure released the month after Victoria pulled out of hosting was overstated.

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