Regional Victoria’s bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis, the bid’s project manager said today.
Fiona Le Gassick told The City Journal presentations to the nine regional councils proposed to host events and the State Government had been shelved indefinitely.
“The pre-feasibility study has been completed and it was due to be presented to all the regional councils in February, but due to COVID-19 it’s been placed on hold,” Mrs Gassick said.
Led by the City of Greater Shepparton, the bid proposes events held in Bendigo, Geelong, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Nagambie, Wodonga, Yarrawonga, and Traralgon.
A Victorian Government spokesperson told The City Journal they will consider the pre-feasibility report once it is formally presented by the taskforce.
“The Andrews Labor Government supports the delivery of significant sporting events in Regional Victoria, as they bring people to our regional communities, create jobs and stimulate the local economy, and inspire more people to stay active and healthy through sport,” the spokesperson said.
Latrobe City Mayor Dan Clancey said his council was also waiting for more information and hadn’t heard from the taskforce since November 2019, but admitted the opportunity was interesting.
“We’ve had no active play [in the bid] but It would be absolutely huge,” Cr Clancey said.
“We pride ourselves on being a regional centre for large sporting events and we welcome the prospect of any large sporting event.”
Commonwealth Games Australia general manager of marketing, communications and community David Culbert said the governing body was keen to host the event again, and that a regional bid was feasible although challenging.
“We’re really keen to host the Games again. A regional bid is absolutely feasible and the Gold Coast in a way was a regional Games compared to the major city model,” Mr Culbert said.
“Having a Games across a state would be a new concept. It provides a lot of challenges for the organisers in terms of satellite villages, transport, ticketing and media.”
The Regional Victoria bid could battle Adelaide to host the event after the South Australian capital decided not to bid for the 2026 edition late last year, much to the disappointment of the Commonwealth Games Association.
“It was effectively their games and every indication we had was that if Adelaide wanted to host it, they’d be the host,” Mr Culbert said.
Hamilton, Canada has also expressed interest in hosting the 2030 event, 100 years after they hosted the first edition of the Commonwealth Games.
Feature image is courtesy Tom Leuntjens on Flickr