More evidence surrounding the Commonwealth Games cost blow-out concerning who knew what and when is proving to be a thorn in the side of Victoria’s new Premier Jacinta Allan who was previously the minister overseeing the Games.
The first day of public hearings at a state upper house inquiry revealed that then Premier Dan Andrews and Allan were briefed on the revised cost of the Games doubling to $4.5 billion in March, some four months before the government publicly announced it would cancel the Games.
The new timeline provided by Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions secretary Tim Ada is an embarrassment for Allan, who continued to show her support for the Games during those four months despite knowing the real cost.
Allan has so far refused to appear before the inquiry to explain her version of events.
“It is absolutely outrageous that the Premier has continued to say that she was not aware of any cost blowouts around the Commonwealth Games until the weeks leading up to the July 18 cancellation,” said Sam Groth, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Sport and Events.
“It’s time for Jacinta Allan to front the inquiry to tell Victorian people exactly what her involvement was in this and to come clean and stop misleading the public.”
It also appears that the $7 billion cost estimate that Andrews used to justify his decision to cancel the 2026 Commonwealth Games was based on a worst-case scenario developed by the event’s organising committee and a government department.
“Despite being aware of multi-billion dollar cost blowouts and the total inadequacy of the initial business case, Jacinta Allan kept the Victorian community in the dark for months on end,” Groth said.
“Premier Jacinta Allan needs to take responsibility for this debacle, and commit to fronting this inquiry to explain how this all went so wrong.”