Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to abandon the 2026 Commonwealth Games is a terrible outcome for sport and major events in this country. It is a disaster for our international reputation and just highlights Labor cannot manage money.
What’s more disappointing is that Anthony Albanese, our Prime Minister, has taken no responsibility for this decision or stood up for Australian athletes. He has failed them and future generations of Australians who would have been the main beneficiaries of Australia hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Instead, he has stood by and blamed Mr Andrews’ for this decision stating ‘that's a decision made by the Victorian Government.’
As a result, regional communities across Victoria will miss out on the critical opportunities that the Games would have brought them, and Australia has taken a serious hit to our international sporting reputation.
The Coalition understood the importance of the 2026 Commonwealth Games in showcasing Australia’s incredible regions, demonstrating our sporting prowess on home soil, and creating legacy sporting infrastructure that will encourage and support future Australian athletes.
That is why we worked hard in government to secure the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the 2027 Netball World Cup and the Rugby World Cup all right here in Australia.
Now, in collaboration with Dan Andrews, the Albanese Government has made a laughing stock of our ability to host key international sporting events.
Shadow Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said this was blatant mismanagement and poor leadership from both the State and Federal Labor Governments.
‘Premier Dan Andrews dismissing this as ‘not a difficult decision’ completely flies in the face of our hard-working and dedicated athletes, Australia’s international sporting reputation, and the regional communities who would have benefited from the legacy benefits of the Commonwealth Games,’ Senator Ruston said.
‘This disastrous decision has been overseen by a complete lack of leadership from the Prime Minister, and at a time when our sporting legacy is being trashed, Australia’s Sports Minister is nowhere to be seen.
‘Anthony Albanese must explain why he let this happen under his watch, and what this means for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
‘It is also another example of Labor Governments failing to undertake any genuine consultation with stakeholders before making political decisions, with the Commonwealth Games Federation only provided last-minute notice of the decision before today’s press conference.
‘My thoughts are with Australia’s athletes today who have worked so hard to be able to pull on their green and gold to compete on home soil.’
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said, unfortunately it has been clear for months that Victorian Labor were not going to be able to deliver the infrastructure required for a successful Commonwealth Games.
‘Labor’s reckless approach to financial management has left the state unable to honour its international commitments,’ Senator McKenzie said.
‘Today’s announcement shows no infrastructure project in Victoria is safe from the axe, no matter how many times the Premier has said it will go ahead.
‘Victoria’s regional cities were told they would be promoted on the world stage and now they have been embarrassed globally.
‘Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland have proud sporting traditions and we cannot allow the reputations of those communities to be trashed by Labor.
‘The Andrews Labor Government’s financial mismanagement has burnt more than 100 years work making Victoria recognised as the global sporting capital.’
Senator McKenzie said the Senate Inquiry will be pursuing Victoria’s mishandling of the infrastructure build, the games delivery and the impacts on our international reputation.