Monday, June 24, 2024

Regional upgrades to continue in wake of Games cancellation

Housing, tourism and sporting infrastructure projects in regional Victoria will be completed despite the cancellation of the state’s hosting duties for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery, Jacinta Allan said today.

Premier, Daniel Andrews this morning announced the Victorian Government’s decision not to proceed with hosting the Games, saying the cost was set to exceed $6 billion – more than twice the estimated economic benefit the Games would bring the state.

“I think all Victorians would agree that more than $6 billion for a 12-day sporting event just doesn’t make sense,” the Premier said.

Despite the cancellation, Minister Allan said the Government would continue with delivery of a comprehensive $2 billion package to ensure regional Victoria still receives all the benefits that would have been facilitated by the Games.

“Whether it’s upgrades to BMX facilities in Shepparton or many other smaller projects around the State, every one of the permanent new and upgraded sports facilities will be delivered,” said Minister Allan.

“We know how hard it is to find affordable housing in so many parts of regional Victoria – that’s why we’ll deliver more than 1,300 new homes with a $1 billion Regional Housing Fund.”

Minister Allan said every one of the permanent new and upgraded sporting infrastructure projects planned as part of the Games will proceed.

“Now, instead of building temporary features for the Games competitions, we’ll be able to get on with constructing the final form of these projects – meaning locals will get access to new and upgraded venues sooner than waiting for the Games to be completed,” the Minister said.

For Shepparton, this means upgrades to the BMX facilities to attract more state, national and international competition.

“We know there’s no more important issue anywhere in the state right now than housing. That’s why, ahead of the Housing Statement to be released later this year, we will provide a new $1 billion Regional Housing Fund to deliver more than 1,300 new homes across regional Victoria.”

“At least half of these new dwellings will be public and social housing and we’ll work with councils, regional partnerships and locals to determine the right mix and locations for each region.”

A new $150 million Regional Tourism and Events Fund will also ensure the state’s regions have the best of everything on offer with new events, new attractions and more accommodation coming to Shepparton, the Government said in a statement.

“We’ll build all the permanent sporting facilities that we promised for 2026,” said Premier Andrews.

“We’ll work with sports clubs at a grassroots level to get more local families playing sport, including removing barriers for Victorians with disabilities.

“And there’ll be a massive boost in regional tourism and events – so they’ll have the very best new attractions, events and accommodation.

“These projects will create around 3,000 jobs right around the state, and deliver what our regional communities have asked for.

“It’s the right thing to do. From the get-go, we said we’d create a long, lasting legacy throughout our regions and we’re getting on with it,” he said.

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