The Commonwealth Games Federation have described their decision as ‘hugely disappointing’
Australia’s Victoria state has withdrawn as host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to the cost of the event breaching estimates by around 5 billion Australian dollars.
State premier Daniel Andrews fronted media in Melbourne and said he was not prepared to spend up to 7 billion dollars (£3.6 billion) on a “12-day sporting event”.
He said: “Last year when the Commonwealth Games authorities approached us and needed someone to step in to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, as a state we were happy to help out, but of course not at any price.
“I’ve made a lot of difficult decisions in this job, this is not one of them.”
Mr Andrews said the games did not represent value for money.
“It’s just quite obvious, we are not going to spend six to seven billion dollars on a 12-day sporting event,” he said.
“We don’t just make popular decisions, we do what’s right and it would simply be wrong.”
The original budget for the games was estimated to be around 2.6 billion dollars (£1.3 billion) but ballooned out to nearly triple that.
Mr Andrews said they have had “cordial discussions” with the Commonwealth authorities in London and will continue discussions with them on Tuesday morning.
He said: “It is not appropriate and it is against the interest of taxpayers for me to speculate and conduct a negotiation with people on the other side of the world at a press conference here today.
“In the meantime we are going to let our team that are in London work through these issues.”
Mr Andrews said the estimates were “clearly under the actual cost”.
The Victorian state government are instead going to use the money budgeted to improve sporting complexes and housing in regional Victoria.
The 2026 Commonwealth Games were set to be held in regional Victoria across towns like Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton.
Following the announcement, Basil Zempilas, mayor of Perth in Western Australia state, called for the games to come to the city.
He wrote on Twitter: “COMMONWEALTH GAMES… Not often you get a second chance like this @CityofPerth.
“Here’s how it should work – we tell the @thecgf how much we will pay. We tell them ‘here are our venues’ you make YOUR games fit around what we have.
“Perth is in the driver’s seat they need us.”
Australia held the games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and in Melbourne in 2006.
In 2017 Durban in South Africa was stripped of the games by the Commonwealth Games Federation after they failed to meet promises contained in its bid.