The Australian team at the Gold Coast in 2018.
There's a bid to bring the Commonwealth Games to the Gold Coast for a second time in eight years. Image by Regi Varghese/AAP PHOTOS
  • Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast unveils bold bid to salvage 2026 Comm Games

Laine Clark October 16, 2023

A bold bid to rescue the 2026 Commonwealth Games and “salvage Australia’s reputation” has been revealed by the Gold Coast.

Three months after Victoria quit as host, citing a cost blowout, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate unveiled plans to hold a “streamlined” 2026 Games for $700 million.

Mr Tate met on Monday with Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips and Commonwealth Games Federation Partners Director Michael Bushell ahead of what is expected to be an official pitch in November.

“I’ve just concluded a very positive meeting with the CGF. Mr Phillips agrees the Gold Coast is an excellent option for the Games,” Mr Tate said.

Officials were forced into talks to rescue the Games in Australia after former Victorian premier Daniel Andrews delivered surprise news in July that he was pulling the pin on the 2026 edition amid claims of an estimated $7 billion cost blowout.

“It is heartening for us to have a frank discussion regarding hosting the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,” Mr Tate told reporters.

“Of course there is a bit of a journey to do but the key point’s this: we want to salvage Australia’s reputation.

“Because in future years …nobody will remember Daniel Andrews and the Victorian government, they will say the Aussies are the ones who cancelled the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”

If successful, the Gold Coast would hold the Games twice in eight years after hosting the event in 2018 at a cost of $1.2 billion.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate.
 Mayor Tom Tate wants the Gold Coast to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Mr Tate said another Games on the tourist strip would inject more than $2 billion into the economy.

“I showed them our preliminary business case which proves that a scaled down 2026 Games can be held on the coast for around $700 million,” he said of Monday’s meeting.

“This is a $2 billion-plus gift to the (southeast Queensland) economy at no monetary cost to Queensland, apart from in-kind support at the time.”

Mr Tate said the Gold Coast was “Games ready” with infrastructure from the 2018 event still in place but had no problem with other cities joining as co-hosts.

He hoped the state government “comes on board”, saying he expected to make an official pitch to host the 2026 Games in November after Commonwealth nations meet with the federation in Singapore.

“Next stop is really for the Commonwealth federation to have a meeting with the (Queensland) premier and to show the benefits that the (2032) Olympics can gain (from another Gold Coast Games),” Mr Tate said.

A Senate inquiry’s interim report last month called on the federal government to urgently intervene to save the 2026 Games, saying it should work with all levels of government – including the Gold Coast council – to find a solution.

However, the Queensland government has ruled out supporting a Gold Coast bid, saying it was prioritising the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

“I can’t say I have had a single person raise with me their desire to have the Commonwealth Games again on the Gold Coast,” state Minister and Gold Coast MP Meaghan Scanlon said on Monday.

“If it is something that Tom Tate wants to progress that’s a matter for him, we’ve made our position clear though.”