Vic moves closer to hosting 2026 games | Liverpool City Champion

Victoria is set to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games after the state government entered into exclusive negotiations with the games’ governing body.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state’s bid to host on Wednesday, saying the games would boost investment in Victoria’s infrastructure and tourism sectors.

“This exclusivity is a testament to the fact that we are the sporting capital of our nation,” Mr Andrews said.

“We have everything it takes to make an event like this a fantastic success for us and everyone across the Commonwealth.”

Mr Andrews noted that if Victoria’s bid is successful, the 2026 games would move away from Melbourne and instead be held in the regions.

“It’s something new, it’s something unique, it’s something very special,” he said. “Region Victoria will be better for it.”

Victoria Regional Towns Chairman Kim O’Keeffe agreed, saying the regions were ready to host major events.

“The Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006 were a great success,” she said.

“A 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games held across the state would truly be an unforgettable event.”

Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney said years of investment in sports facilities in the area have put the city in a good position to host the games.

Greater Bendigo Mayor Andrea Metcalf said her city also has the infrastructure to host sports like tennis, basketball and volleyball.

Cr Metcalf said sharing accommodation duties would allow the whole of Region Victoria to benefit economically.

But while regional councils welcomed the announcement, advocacy group Save Victorian Events said the 2026 games would do little to help the state’s struggling events sector.

“While the promise of working for some in four years is welcome, the focus must finally be on helping our industry get through the year ahead and rebuild,” the group said in a statement.

Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein was also disappointed after finding out about Victoria’s exclusive offer through the media.

Last week, Mr Gutwein wrote to Commonwealth Games Australia asking that his state be considered as hosts.

Tasmania recently hosted the fifth Ashes men’s cricket Test and received two AFL playoff finals last season due to COVID-19 restrictions on the mainland.

“I was a bit disappointed with the way Commonwealth Games Australia handled this,” Mr Gutwein said.

“The first time I heard they were dealing exclusively with Victoria was through the media.”

But Mr Gutwein said Tasmania’s offer was still on the table.

“I was very convinced that we could co-host a number of sports,” he said.

“I make no apologies for being ambitious.

“We are as good as anywhere in this country and anywhere on this planet.”

Asked about the Tasmanian bid, Mr Andrews said he would not comment on the other states.

“I’m here to talk about our state, our plans and our vision to bring perhaps the biggest event ever to the Victoria area,” he said.

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy backed the accommodation offer, but said the Andrews government needed to make sure it was not “casual” with Victorians’ money.

“These things are at taxpayer expense and we have to manage these things responsibly,” Mr Guy said.

The Commonwealth Games Federation will assess Victoria’s submission before naming the host for the 2026 games.

The games last came to Victoria in 2006 when Melbourne played host.

Australian Associated Press

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