Withdrawal from 2026 Commonwealth Games

This audit examined the cost of securing, planning for and then withdrawing from the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the quality of agencies' advice to the government.

3. Advice to the government

Public sector agencies did not always work together to provide comprehensive and timely advice to the government to inform its decision to host the Games.

While agencies did highlight risks, DJSIR overstated the benefits of hosting and did not provide reliable cost estimates. This meant that from the start, the government had unrealistic expectations of the cost and effort it would take to deliver the Games within 4 years.

2. The cost of the Games

In March 2022 the government approved a gross cost budget of $2.7 billion for the Games with an estimated net cost of $1.6 billion.

When the government announced that Victoria would withdraw from hosting the Games in July 2023, it stated that the cost of hosting was certain to exceed $6 billion.

But both of these cost estimates were unreliable – the first estimate was understated and the final one was overstated.

1. Context

The Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event involving athletes from Commonwealth nations and territories. It was first run in 1930 and has taken place every 4 years since 1950. Victoria was selected as the host for 2026.

What we found

This section summarises our key findings. Sections 1, 2 and 3 detail our complete findings, including supporting evidence.

When reaching our conclusions, we consulted with the audited agencies and considered their views. The agencies’ full responses are in Appendix A.