Commonwealth Games Inquiry - Jacinta Allan Sam Groth

Premier Jacinta Allan must appear before the Commonwealth Games Inquiry and come clean with Victorians about her role in the debacle, says the state Opposition.

The Parliamentary Select Committee investigating the cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games today formally asked the Premier to front the inquiry in her former role as Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery.

It follows mounting evidence to the inquiry that she kept Victorians in the dark as she was repeatedly made aware of the huge financial problems facing the event. This includes:

– February 2023 – Victoria 2026 Organising Committee formally requests an additional $722 million in funding.

– March 2023 – Minister Allan briefed by the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions about a $2 billion cost blowout.

– April 2023 – the Chair of the Victoria 2026 Organising Committee Peggy O’Neal writes to Minister Allan telling her the cost would be “significantly in excess” of the original $2.6 billion budget.

– June 2023 – the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions formally submits an updated budget request, which was not formally considered by the Labor Government despite being informed “an urgent decision was required”.

In addition, Ms O’Neal has confirmed she held a meeting with Jacinta Allan on 19 June – five days after the now Premier was made aware of the engagement of lawyers for the specific purpose of withdrawing from the Games – at which Ms O’Neal was given no indication of the Government’s intention to pull out of the host contract.

Tellingly, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Commonwealth Games, Allen Garner, also cast doubt on his office’s involvement in the up to $7 billion costings provided by the Labor Government as the basis to withdraw from the Games.

Shadow Minister for Tourism, Sport and Events, Sam Groth, said: “Jacinta Allan’s credibility and leadership are on the line. She must do the right thing and front the inquiry as soon as possible and explain what she knew.

“Victorians have been left humiliated on the global stage and left with a bill of at least $600 million to pay for an event that will never happen.

“It’s simply unacceptable that the person responsible for this debacle doesn’t participate in this inquiry. Otherwise, we can only assume that she misled the Parliament and Victorians.

“This is a test of Jacinta Allan’s leadership and character. Will she step up and take responsibility for her actions, or continue to deny Victorians the answers they deserve?”

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