Regional Victoria Could Host 2026 Commonwealth Games - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Regional Victoria Could Host 2026 Commonwealth Games

After a number of global cities withdrew their proposed bids, Daniel Andrews is now singing the praises of hosting the Commonwealth Games with benefits for regional Victoria.

The Commonwealth Games are one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar. Where we feel a deep void settle over our lives following the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games enter in its place, giving us that jolt of electricity that comes with watching the theatre of triumph and heartbreak that is professional sport. Now, the Victorian government is entering into exclusive negotiations to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games in the state’s regions, and it’s already trumped the recent bid from Tasmania to host the event. 

According to Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, a two-month exclusivity agreement has been signed with the Commonwealth Games Federation which will look to assess the viability of hosting the Games. But rather than shine a spotlight on Melbourne, the government’s submission is instead paying greater attention to the state’s regions. “It’s not just about rerunning what was done back in 2006. Our vision is for this to be predominantly a regional Victorian event,” said Andrews in a press conference. 

“It’s about taking this amazing competition across many, many different sports into regional cities and towns.”

Andrews also added that already there were athletics facilities in Ballarat, with Bendigo Basketball Stadium also having received recent upgrades, along with Geelong which has an aquatics centre and GMHBA Stadium. “Our starting position is very strong but yes, there would need to be further investment made, and that’s how I’d see it – not as a cost but a massive investment, built by locals,” said Andrews. 

“Just think about the number of small- and medium-sized businesses, tradesmen and women working across regional Victoria, building the infrastructure that we need – and then that infrastructure is there as a lasting legacy. All of that makes perfect sense and all of it, I think, is more powerful the more further away from Melbourne you get.” According to reports from The Guardian, the Gold Coast region saw a “net economic benefit of $2.5bn when it hosted the 2018 games.” 

A number of global cities withdrew their bid, with Durban, South Africa being stripped of the right to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to financial issues. Perth also withdrew from the process earlier this year, due to the uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and a minimum investment of $1bn required just to establish the required infrastructure. 

While it certainly stands as good news for Victoria, Andrews assures that it’s still early days and currently it’s too soon to know what time of the year the event might take place, along with which sports would be included and which cities and towns would participate. But as Victoria Tourism Industry Council’s chief executive, Felicia Mariani explained, hosting the 2026 games would “supercharge” the state’s visitor economy which is essential following close to $20bn being wiped from visitor spend in the state as a result of Covid-19. 

“Initiatives such as this are exactly what’s needed to rebuild, reimagine and re-engineer the enviable position we have built up over two decades as we established Victoria’s global profile,” she said. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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