Victorian regional cities launch bid to host 2030 Commonwealth Games

Victorian regional cities launch bid to host 2030 Commonwealth Games

From left clockwise: Horsham councillor Alethea Sedgman; Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh; Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke and Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie.REACTION FROM BENDIGO“Incredibly exciting” and “right out of the box” |Bendigo’s mayor has thrown her initial support behind a collective regional bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, despite learning of the plan on Wednesday. Watch the video here

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke has thrown her initial support behind a collective bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

REACTION FROM BALLARAT“We will still be chasing this” |The City of Ballaratwas not involved in Shepparton’s initial announcement, despite being listed as a potential host for badminton and netball events.But Ballarat mayor Samantha McIntosh said there was no doubt council would lobby for other events as well. Read on

Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh.

REACTION FROM WODONGAWodonga mayor puts acid on state government over Games bid | “I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for regional cities to talk about it, to think about it, to at least explore the opportunity,” Wodonga’s mayor Anna Speedie said. But she added the proposal would not be realised without Victorian Government backing.

“It’s going to take absolute buy-in by the state government because it’s going to take state government funds to make this happen,” Cr Speedie said. Read more

Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie has welcomed a push to have the 2030 Commonwealth Games held across Victoria, but has warned it will require state government cash. Photo: Mark Jesser

REACTION FROM THE WIMMERAHorshamconsiders joining Games bid |Mayor Pam Clarke said the council would investigatewhat the region, as a whole, could provide to the pitch.

“We don’t know yet if we can (be included),” she said. “We will see what we can provide first and whether it is viable. Part of that would be seeing what sports we could carry here.” Read more, including the thoughts of Horsham councillor, Alethea Sedgman, aformer Olympic shooter.

Alethea Sedgman competing in the London Olympics in 2012. Picture: Pat Scala, The Age

Shepparton leads multi-city Commonwealth Games bidA group of 11 Victorian regional cities and towns is preparing a bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2030.

The Greater Shepparton City Council is leading the pioneering bid, which would see the events shared between several Victorian regional centres including Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong, Mildura, Wodonga and Warrnambool – but not Melbourne.

High-profile figures such as former basketball star Lauren Jackson, former Olympic athlete John Steffensen, former Hawthorn footballer Nick Holland and philanthropist Heloise Pratt are on the 13-member taskforce working group, which is chaired by former Swisse executive Adem Karafili.

Greater Shepparton City Council mayor Dinny Adem, who will formally announce the pitch, called ‘the people’s games’ at Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton on Thursday, said if the bid was successful, it would “leave a legacy for millions of people like we have never seen before”.

Former basketball star Lauren Jackson, former Olympic athlete John Steffensen, former Hawthorn footballer Nick Holland are on the 13-member taskforce working group.

“The economic and social impact will be so significant, not to mention the wave of optimism that would sweep the state,” he said.

The bid could face competition from Melbourne and other n cities, as the n Commonwealth Games Association endorses only one n bid for the games, which would then be pitched to the international body, the Commonwealth Games Federation. The n association will start considering proposals from 2019, but a decision will not be made until 2023.

Mr Adem said the council spent 12 months fine-tuning their pitch, and have identified where infrastructure upgrades were needed.

He estimated that $1 billion would be needed to fund the initiative, but this figure would be confirmed after a feasibility study was undertaken.

If state and federal government funding was guaranteed, the proposal would then be presented to the Commonwealth Games Association.

“We envisage that the focus for proposed competition venues will be on significant upgrades to existing infrastructure … rather than building brand new facilities across the board at large expense,” Mr Adem said.

“Parties of all political persuasions have been talking for years about the importance of delivering jobs and investment strategies for regional areas and this ambitious but very real proposal will deliver on many, many fronts and for many, many years.”

Documents outlining the plan have been sent to Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian Minister for Sport, and Tourism and Major Events John Eren as well as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and federal Sports Minister Greg Hunt.

Mayors of all municipalities involved in the plan will meet on April 28 in Shepparton to discuss the proposal.

Mayor Adem said he believed Geelong’s Simonds Stadium was a strong candidate for hosting the opening and closing ceremonies.

Ms Jackson said the impact of an event like this would “hard to imagine.”

“It will literally be a game- changer for millions of people and I really hope our dream becomes a reality.”

Independent Member for the Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed commended the Shepparton council for their “visionary project”.

“In politics, it is so easy to think in the short term only. This is truly planning for our future, and represents the chance for regional Victorian cities to showcase themselves and to participate in the wealth creation that comes from great events,” she said.

Mr Adem said the decision to strip the South African city Durban of the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to financial problems was proof of the need to take pressure off individual cities and embrace a “decentralised model” in hosting the games.

Mr Steffensen said the bid would trigger a “transformation of major sporting events.”

The proposed venues for Commonwealth games events include:Aquatics including Para-Swimming Events – Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure CentreAthletics including Para-Athletic Events – Shepparton Sports Precinct at a new stadiumBadminton – Ballarat Badminton CentreBoxing – Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and Entertainment Complex in TraralgonHockey – Geelong Stead Park Hockey CentreLawn Bowls including Para-Lawn Bowls – Shepparton Park Bowls ClubNetball – Ballarat Sports and Events CentreMen’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s – Simonds Stadium – GeelongSquash – Shepparton Sports StadiumWeightlifting and Para-Powerlifting – Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and EntertainmentMen’s Basketball – Shepparton Sports StadiumWomen’s Basketball – Bendigo StadiumRoad Cycling – Warrnambool and Port CampbellMountain Bike Cycling – Mount BullerTrack Cycling – Bendigo’s Tom Flood CentreDiving – Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure CentreGymnastics – Geelong Convention CentreRowing – Lake NagambieSailing – Lake Mulwala, YarrawongaTennis – Wodonga Lawn Tennis CentreTriathlon – Victoria Park Lake, Shepparton​The Age