Cancelling Commonwealth Games cost Victoria more than $589m

commonwealth
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the shock decision to cancel the state's hosting of the 2026 Comm Games.

The cancelled 2026 Commonwealth Games cost Victoria more than $589 million, according to a new report by Victoria’s Auditor-General.

The report painted a scathing picture of the State government’s initial business case to hold the sporting event and its cost estimate used to justify the decision to cancel.

The cost of the cancelling the Games saw $150 million spent on employee and operating costs, and a $380 million settlement to Commonwealth Games bodies.

“This waste would have been avoided if agencies had worked together better to give frank and full advice to the government before it decided to host the Games,” the report said.

Former Premier Daniel Andrews cancelled the Games in July last year on the grounds of a multi-billion cost blow-out to nearly $7 billion.

The auditor-general’s report said that figure was “overstated and not transparent”.

“It added significant amounts for industrial relations and cost escalation risks. But it did not disclose that the budget already included $1 billion in contingency allowances to cover these and other cost risks,” the report stated.

Premier Jacinta Allan, who was the Comm Games minister at the time, said the report backed up the government’s decision to cancel the Games.

“I say that the report does confirm that we made the right decision … because [going ahead] would have cost far, far more than the amount identified in the report to not proceed,” she said.

The future of the Commonwealth Games now remains in limbo after Malaysia rejected hosting rights for 2026.

The Malaysian government was offered $193 million by the Commonwealth Games Federation to host the Games.

“If we had a longer time, we would definitely do it, but because there’s such a short time, we definitely can’t do it,” said Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil.

“When we assessed the viability of hosting the Games, the length of time needed and the cost was seen to be particularly prohibitive.”