John Pesutto - VAGO should investigate CWG 2026 debacle

The Opposition has called for an urgent investigation by the Victorian Auditor-General to reveal the true extent of costs incurred by taxpayers as a result of the cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Opposition Leader John Pesutto and Deputy Leader David Southwick today visited Ballarat, one of the Victorian regional centres that was to have hosted a number of Games events in 2026 but will now miss out because of Labor’s incompetence.

Amid revelations that the cost of the failed Commonwealth Games will exceed more than $1 billion, the Opposition has written to the Auditor-General asking for an investigation to seek answers on the following:

1. How much will Victorian taxpayers have to pay to break the Commonwealth Games host contract?

2. How was the Andrews Government’s $2.6 billion cost estimate so far off the actual cost – a near tripling of the initial estimate?

3. Exactly how can the forecast costings of the Games change so suddenly and dramatically in just seven weeks since the 2023-24 State Budget?

4. Which external parties conducted these cost estimates?

5. How much has been spent on the Commonwealth Games to date?

6. What will happen to the public servants employed to organise the Commonwealth Games? Will there be redundancies?

7. Why was the 2026 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee advised as recently as June that “sufficient funding was available” for the Games?

8. Why did the Andrews Government not discuss the funding situation with the 2026 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee to jointly find a solution?

9. What will happen to the $2.6 billion allocated to delivering the Commonwealth Games in the 2022-23 Victorian State Budget?

10. When was the decision made to cancel the Commonwealth Games and for how long was the Andrews Government aware of issues surrounding its delivery?

11. Why did the Andrews Government advise Commonwealth Games Australia in June 2023 that the total cost of the Commonwealth Games would be $3 billion, just weeks before stating that the total cost would be more than double that amount?

12. Is the cancellation of the Games the result of a further deterioration of the State’s finances, particularly as the escalating state net debt position is forecast to hit $171.4 billion in 2026-27 and a potential downgrading of Victoria’s credit rating by the ratings agencies?

Leader of the Opposition John Pesutto said: “The Andrews Government must come clean with Victorians about exactly how much money it has squandered as it has humiliated Victoria on the national and international stage.

“To think that Labor may have torched more than one billion dollars is a further indictment on its complete inability to manage money at a time when Victorians are facing unprecedented cost of living pressures and essential services are being increasingly stretched.

“The Premier torched more than one billion dollars of taxpayers’ money not to build the East-West Link when he came into office and it now seems he is doing it again on his way out of office.

”We are also deeply concerned by this betrayal of regional Victoria and the decision to cancel the Games confirms that Victoria is broke and the Andrews Government simply cannot manage major projects without huge cost blowouts.”

Deputy Leader of the Opposition David Southwick said: “Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan claim the Games would have cost $7 billion but won’t reveal any details of these supposed costings.

“Victorians also deserve to know how much of taxpayers’ money will be spent on breaking the contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation, with conservative estimates on this alone running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The decision to walk away from the Games has also done untold damage to Victoria’s reputation and will cast significant doubts about our ability to deliver other major sporting events.”

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