This week we’ve all heard a lot about the cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games by Victorian premier Dan Andrews.
This debacle reeks of cynical vote-buying and rank political dishonesty. Andrews and his government worked hard on the games bid, the success of which was announced in an election year. The decision to host the event in regional centres rather than Melbourne appears to have been motivated by Labor’s need to shore up its electoral support in crucial regional seats.
Now that the election has been won, Andrews doesn’t need the Commonwealth Games anymore. It was only eight weeks ago that $2.6 billion for the event was in Victoria’s Budget. Andrews claims the cost has blown out to more than $6 billion in just eight weeks.
Premiers from other states raced to get in front of TV cameras to rule out stepping in to host the event. I think that is very telling: for them, the costs and economic benefits don’t stack up. Andrews must have been aware of this.
The key question this raises about the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games is whether or not the Palasczcuk government has done the math on costs versus benefits. We already know the cost of upgrading the Gabba has blown out to almost $3 billion. What other nasty Olympic surprises are in store for Brisbane and Queensland between now and 2032?
Whatever is to come, the fact remains the Victorian premier has done immeasurable harm to his nation’s reputation for sport and hosting significant international events, all for a vote-buying exercise. He is accountable for this embarrassing debacle and should resign, but Dan Andrews – the architect of the world’s harshest and longest pandemic lockdown – has never considered himself especially accountable to the people of Victoria.