The 2026 Commonwealth Games due to be held in Victoria, Australia has stunningly been called off as the state’s Premier Daniel Andrews cited the rising cost to host the event.
Andrews held a press conference Tuesday morning (18 July) to confirm his decision to pull out of hosting duties as he revealed the initial $2.6bn budget to go into the Commonwealth Games was a far cry from the projected $6-7bn benchmark it would actually take.
The lofty figure cited by Andrews is a result of Victoria’s mounting debt, which is forecasted to be at $135bn in 2024 and is projected to rise to $171bn in 2026-27.
Despite an array of Australian athletes expressing their deep disappointment in the cancellation of the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Andrews has stated that social infrastructures such as hospitals and schools outweigh the importance of hosting a sporting event that would have deepened the state’s debt concerns.
He stated: “I will not take money out of hospitals and schools in order to fund an event that is three times the cost as estimated and budgeted for last year.
“I’ve made a lot of difficult decisions in this job – this is not one of them,” as Andrews described the Commonwealth Games as ‘all cost, no benefit’.
“We are not going to spend $6 to $7bn hosting a 12-day sporting event.”
The Commonwealth Games Federation – who stated the Victoria Government gave them an eight hour notice of its decision – responded in shock, whilst stating that sufficient funding was available for the Games to go ahead.
A statement from the Commonwealth Games Federation read: “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.
“Despite being pressed several times, Mr Andrews would not reveal the cost of abandoning the games, but said this would be ‘fully accounted for’ at a later date.”
Andrews has said that meetings with the Federation were “amicable and productive” and informed the governing body of the state’s intentions to relinquish its hosting duties.
In an immediate attempt to rescue the March 17-29, 2026 dates for the Games, Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas has offered the city and the rest of Western Australia to host the Games, stating: “We’ve got a huge opportunity to swoop in, get it at the right price and do something defining for our city.”