Daniel Andrews is yet to reveal how the now cancelled 2026 Commonwealth Games would have cost taxpayers between $6billion and $7billion, the event’s CEO has said.
The Victorian Premier sensationally announced his state would no longer host the sporting event, citing financial issues.
Mr Andrews said the cost of the Games was going to be ‘at least $6billion or $7billion’, and not the $2.6billion allocated.
But Commonwealth Games Australia boss Craig Phillips said that figure was ‘exaggerated’.
Mr Phillips said more than a week on from the announcement that regional Victoria was withdrawing as host, he has been given no breakdown of how Mr Andrews came to the $6-7billion number.
Daniel Andrews is yet to reveal how the now cancelled 2026 Commonwealth Games would have cost taxpayers between $6billion and $7billion, the event’s CEO has said
‘We have a number of $6-7 billion which we know is exaggerated, so once we get the opportunity we’ll have a sensible conversation with those who might have the opportunity to host,’ he said on Friday afternoon.
‘There’s always hope that it could be here from our perspective, to be fair to the other premiers of other states, they’re probably reacting to a number of $6-7billion which is eye-watering.
‘We’ll look at working with any state that wants to know what the Games could look like, what the costs may be, but certainly, the numbers that are out there right now are highly inflated.’
Mr Phillips added his only contact with the Victorian government had been deputy secretary Tim Ada, who he heard from just one-and-a-half-hours before the announcement.
The Games’ lawyers have also not been provided with any documentation on what would’ve made up the estimated $6-7 billion cost.
‘We’ve not seen the numbers,’ Mr Phillips said.
Commonwealth Games Australia boss Craig Phillips said the $6-7billion figure was ‘exaggerated’
Both parties are now trying to reach a financial settlement which could in turn help partly fund the event in another city.
It is believed Victoria’s compensation could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
‘It came out of the blue, we were blindsided, most people would not like to be treated that way,’ Mr Phillips said.
‘It’s disrespectful, and that’s how we were treated last week, our movement, our athletes were disrespected.
‘We believe if we can have a sensible conversation, there is a chance of progressing it.’
While Mr Phillips was unable to give a specific figure on what it would cost to host, he said the last Games in Birmingham cost $1.5billion, while the Gold Coast Games cost $1.2billion.
While he was unable to give a specific figure on what it would cost to host, Mr Phillips said in comparison the last games in Birmingham cost $1.5billion, while the Gold Coast Games cost $1.2billion (Australia Netball Team celebrate Silver Medal at Gold Coast Games)
The Scottish Government has indicated they would be willing to host part of the Games and Birmingham has also thrown its hat in the ring as a potential stage for the event.
Last week Gold Coast mayor, Tom Tate, said the city could host the 2026 Games and said he had contacted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
‘We are games ready,’ Mr Tate said.
‘The Premier of Victoria’s lemon, the Gold Coast can turn that into a lemonade because that’s how we roll.’
Having successfully hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the city already has the necessary infrastructure and venues to accommodate another.
Mr Tate said he would want funding help from the federal government but with much of the infrastructure already in place the bill would be considerably lower.
The rights to host the 2026 event were awarded to regional Victoria last year after not one of the 70 countries in the Commonwealth Games Federation offered to host.
The reason for Victoria’s withdrawal is said to be down to the state’s money woes, with Victoria’s debt forecast to be $135.4billion in 2024, rising to $171.4billion by 2026-27.
Mr Andrews said he wouldn’t be taking funds out of hospitals and schools in order to fund the event.