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Commonwealth Games report reveals $590 million bombshell

A damning Auditor-General report has exposed the Commonwealth Games debacle in Victoria as one of the biggest mistakes in Australian sporting history.

A report released on Wednesday shows Victoria Auditor-General Andrew Greaves found communication between government agencies was a disaster, before Dan Andrews’ government decided to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games in a central location. regional Victoria.

Former Victorian premier shocked the world by breaking contract for the July 2023 international sporting event, after internal figures estimated the cost of hosting the event was $7 billion.

Initial estimates were that the state could host the Games at a cost of $2.6 billion.

The report from the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) questions revised cost estimates provided by the Andrews government and says costs have only ballooned to $4.9 billion.

These findings are consistent with scathing claims from the Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive. Craig Phillips who said last year the government had ‘exaggerated’ the costs.

Greaves said in the report that the overall cost to the taxpayer would be $589 million, more than half a billion in wasted public money.

He said the initial estimate of $2.6 billion was “unrealistic” and believes the revised figure of $6.9 billion was “overestimated and lacks transparency.”

“This waste would have been avoided if the agencies had worked better together to give frank and comprehensive advice to the government before it decided to host the Games,” he said.

“The government relied on the DJSIR (Department for Jobs, Skills, Industry and the Regions) business case when deciding to host the Games and determining the budget.

“The business case raised the risks associated with hosting the Games. But he underestimated the costs and overestimated the benefits. »

“DJSIR, the DPC (the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) and the DTF (the Department of Treasury and Finance) knew this, but did not advise the government to delay the decision on accommodation until that a suitable business case can be provided. »

The bombshells continued on Wednesday, with state Opposition Leader John Pesutto calling Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan – the minister responsible for organizing the Games when they were abandoned – a “liar” .

Pesutto said: “When we say Premier Jacinta Allan and her government lied to the Victorian people, that’s why we say that,” he said.

“It’s in the report…the Prime Minister’s credibility is now in tatters.”

Allan responded to the report by saying the government “made the right decision” in canceling the event.

“We take responsibility for making the right decision not to proceed with a cost of at least $6 billion for a 12-day sporting event,” she said.

No Australian state had expressed serious interest in hosting the games after Victoria withdrew its bid.

The Commonwealth Games Federation is yet to secure a host for the event, despite the governing body offering Malaysia $194 million to host it.

The CGF received $380 million in compensation following the termination of Victoria’s contract.

CGA boss Phillips said in a statement released on Wednesday: “The VAGO report into Victoria 2026 confirms the blatant cost exaggeration detailed by the then Prime Minister when he made the decision to cancel the Games of the 2026 Commonwealth.

“We have always indicated that we are aware of potential cost overruns due to government decisions, but our regular advice to make changes to the event delivery model has been ignored.

“A Games celebrating regional Victoria, First Nations Australians and a green and gold team competing on home soil would not have been out of reach if there had been greater collaboration to identify mitigation strategies costs.

“We remain hopeful that the Victorian Government will deliver the existing infrastructure and housing it has committed to on July 18, 2023.

“The decision to cancel is a missed opportunity for the people of this state once proud of major events.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation will now contribute £100 million to Games held elsewhere through settlement funds with the Victorian Government.”

Read related topics:Melbourne

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