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Commonwealth Games: 2026 Event In Doubt After Victoria Cancels

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Cyclists compete at the 2022 Commonwealth games in the UK

By Tiffanie Turnbull

BBC News, Sydney

The 2026 Commonwealth Games are in doubt after the Australian state of Victoria cancelled its plans to host due to budget blowouts.

Organisers had struggled to find a host city before Victoria volunteered in April 2022.

At the time, the tournament was billed as a boom for the state’s regions, which would host most events.

But the premier said the projected cost had now tripled and become “well and truly too much” for Victoria to bear.

“I’ve made a lot of difficult calls, a lot of very difficult decisions in this job. This is not one of them,” Daniel Andrews told a press conference on Tuesday.

Mr Andrews said his government had informed Commonwealth Sport – who are yet to comment – of the decision to seek to terminate the contract, adding that “amicable and productive” meetings had occurred in London overnight.

He said Victoria had been approached by the governing body last year and had been “happy to help out” but “not at any price”.

Organisers had originally estimated the event – hosted across cities including Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat – would cost A$2.6 billion (£1.4bn; $1.8bn).

But now the 12-day tournament was expected to cost more than A$6 billion, Mr Andrews said, adding that the new figure was “more than twice the estimated economic benefit the games would bring” to Victoria.

“Frankly… we’re not doing that… That is all cost and no benefit,” he said.

Victoria will still complete the stadium upgrades it had promised ahead of the games, while using the money it is now saving on housing and tourism initiatives.

Opposition Leader John Pesutto said the decision is a “massive humiliation” for the state.

“The cancellation of the Commonwealth Games is hugely damaging to Victoria’s reputation as a global events leader,” he said in a statement.

Australia has hosted the Commonwealth Games six times – including on the Gold Coast in 2018 and in the Victorian capital of Melbourne in 2006.