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Statement on the cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games

Updated: May 23

The Committee for Geelong is disappointed to learn of the cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.

This represented a unique opportunity to showcase Geelong on a global stage, boost our visitor economy, and deliver a range of legacy benefits for the region.

Those local businesses who had already spent considerable time and effort in tendering will have been dealt a double blow by this news.

The announcement of a $2B Region Fund in its place is welcome, and it is pleasing to hear Geelong will continue to receive the legacy infrastructure benefits the Games promised to deliver. In particular, the creation of more affordable housing is desperately needed, and we would be hopeful that additional dwellings can be added.

It is also positive for residents in the city’s southern growth corridor, with the Armstrong Creek Aquatic Centre, Waurn Ponds indoor sport facility, and hockey pitch at Torquay to be completed (along with the upgrade to the Stead Park hockey facility in Norlane).

With regards to the construction of the housing and sporting infrastructure, there are some important questions that need to be addressed. What is the timing? The Games provided a firm deadline. Without that deadline, we seek assurances that these projects are not delayed.

The other question is whether local businesses will be prioritised through the procurement process? This was a key component of the Victoria 2026 procurement approach and provided Geelong businesses access to significant Government work.  It is imperative on the Government to maintain this approach, and support local businesses in supplying the legacy projects. We have the skills and talent here. Use it.

There has been little detail provided on other components of the support package, specifically the $150m Regional Tourism & Events Fund. This information cannot come soon enough for local businesses that had been planning for the economic boost to Geelong’s visitor economy. Geelong is well placed to host major events, international tournaments and mass participation events. Bring them on.

Much has been said of the opportunity cost to Victoria in delivering the Games at the reforecast amount of $6-7B; this is money that could be better spent on hospitals, schools, road and rail. We agree. There is an opportunity for the Government to show further support to Geelong here by prioritising investment in these areas; particularly transport. This remains the single biggest issue facing Geelong, and now is the time to address it.

At a time when many in Geelong and other parts of regional Victoria are feeling deflated, the need for community-based leadership is important. This is ideal timing for the Government to continue its support of community leadership in regional Victoria and provide further funding of the regional community leadership programs who have no commitment beyond the end of 2023.

There are questions to be answered, and they will be. It is important we move past the disappointment and capture the opportunities to come out of this.  

With many of these initiatives still to be shaped through consultation with local communities, the role of the Committee for Geelong will be important in putting forward our members views.

If you have specific questions, concerns or ideas, please get in touch.

Michael Johnston

CEO, Committee for Geelong

Photo: Geelong Advertiser

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