Senior Victorian bureaucrats to be grilled over dumped Commonwealth Games

Senior Victorian bureaucrats including the head of DPC will give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the decision to cancel the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Jeremi Moule

The Legislative Council Select Committee will hold its first public hearings on Monday October 9 and Friday October 13.

The committee is inquiring into a range of matters, including potential failures in governance, probity and procurement procedures.

It will also consider the advice received by the government from departments, councils and agencies, and potential undue influence by the executive on the public service.

Progress on the regional infrastructure and housing build announced in lieu of the games will also come under scrutiny.

Monday’s witness list includes Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Jeremi Moule and senior public servants from the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions.

The former CEO of the Office of the Commonwealth Games, Allen Garner,  and CEO of Victoria 2026 Jeroen Weimar are also listed to appear at the hearing in Melbourne.

Many questions

Committee Chair David Limbrick said there were many questions around the cancellation of the Games.

David Limbrick

“We will be seeking answers from those closest to the organising process,” he said in a statement.

“We’ll be interrogating the advice provided to government, taking a sharp look at the governance, probity and procurement of this event.”

The inquiry is also evaluating the impacts of the Games’ cancellation on Victoria’s reputation, as well as the state’s business and tourism sectors.

The state government had pitched a multi-city model for the games, with five regional centres to host 20 sports and nine paralympic sports from March 17 to 29, 2026.

But the then Premier Daniel Andrews announced in July that costs had blown out from $2.6 billion to potentially more than $7 billion, and the Games would not proceed at that price.

In a sweetner to the affected regional centres, he promised a $2 billion package for sports infrastructure, tourism and regional housing.

In August it was revealed the state would pay out Commonwealth Games bodies $380 million for the cancelled contract.

The select committee is expected to hold more hearings before handing down an interim report by the end of April next year, with a final report due in April 2025.

It’s one of a number of probes into the decision to dump the Commonwealth Games, including a Senate inquiry and an investigation by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.

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