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Why Have the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games Been Cancelled?

The Commonwealth Games Australia 2026 will no longer be hosted in Victoria, announced Premier Dan Andrews on 18 July 2023. 

“The Games will not proceed in Victoria in 2026,” he said. “We have informed Commonwealth Games authorities of our decision to seek to terminate the contract, and to not host the games.”

The withdrawal came as a shock for Victorians and Australians at large while the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) called the decision “hugely disappointing.” 

Here’s what you need to know about the cancellation of the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games and what we can expect moving forward. 

Why did Victoria withdraw from the 2026 Commonwealth Games?

In his remarks, Premier Andrews said the decision was in direct response to the increasing costs of hosting the games – expenses that far exceeded the initial budget. 

“What’s become clear is that the cost of hosting these games in 2026 is not the $2.6 billion which was budgeted and allocated,” he said. “It is in fact at least $6 billion and could be as high as $7 billion – and I cannot stand here and say to you that I have any confidence that even [the] $7bn number would appropriately and adequately fund these Games.”

Instead, Premier Andrews said funds would be reallocated to other initiatives for the regions that were set to host the Games. The 12-day sporting event was going to take place in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland and Shepparton. The money will now reportedly be used to build sporting facilities as well as social and affordable housing in regional Victoria.

Will the Games go ahead?

At the time of publication, the 2026 Commonwealth Games have not been cancelled entirely. However, no alternate host city has been named for the Games, leading people to wonder if the games will go ahead.

All other Australian states and territories quickly dismissed the idea of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games following Victoria’s withdrawal. 

Now, the CGF will have minimal time to find a new host for the Games – something it has struggled with in recent years. According to the BBC, the CGF had initially hoped to name the host for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in 2019. However, several candidates withdrew from the bidding process due to cost concerns. As a result, the CGF wasn’t able to even select Victoria until 2022. 

I’m an international student in Victoria – what do I need to know? 

Victoria’s withdrawal from the 2026 Commonwealth Games likely won’t have a direct impact on you as an international student. However, it may affect the environment around you, particularly if you live in one of the regions originally set to host the Games. 

Namely, the withdrawal will likely have a significant impact on the Victorian economy. The Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games were set to be the biggest sporting event ever hosted in the state. As a result, they were also projected to inject a huge amount of money into its economy. 

Specifically, thousands of Commonwealth Games Victoria 2026 jobs will now be compromised. In a statement from March 2023, Premier Andrews revealed that the Games would be contributing “more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating more than 7,500 jobs before, during and after the Games.” 

Despite this, Victoria’s regions remain bustling, with excellent employment opportunities for international students and graduates. Click here to discover the jobs most in demand in regional Australia. You can also explore our other employment resources here