Eleven regional Victorian towns, including Shepparton, Geelong and Ballarat, have come together to launch a campaign to host the Commonwealth Games in 2030.
The City of Greater Shepparton is leading a taskforce to put the case to the Victorian Government for a feasibility study on staging the events in the Greater Shepparton region, Wodonga, Bendigo, Ballarat, Warrnambool, and Traralgon.
The group said it had already approached the Victorian Premier and Sports Minister, as well as their federal counterparts.
They have also asked to meet with the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Association Craig Phillips.
Taskforce member Mitch Catlin said it had similarities to England’s proposal to hold the 2022 Commonwealth Games across multiple cities to spread the cost and to utilise existing sports infrastructure.
“The experience and the model is now there to look at spreading the load, because there are fewer and fewer places that are able to hold these events because of the cost required and the infrastructure needed,” Mr Catlin said.
- Shepparton: Basketball, squash, lawn bowls, athletics, triathlon
- Bendigo: Basketball, diving, track cycling, swimming
- Geelong: Hockey, rugby sevens, gymnastics
- Traralgon: Boxing, weightlifting,
- Ballarat: Badminton, netball
- Warrnambool: Road cycling
- Nagambie: Rowing
- Wodonga: Tennis
- Yarrawonga: Sailing
The plan would require significant federal and state funding.
Acting Victorian Sports Minister Luke Donnellan said it was an “interesting and positive” plan, which the Government would consider.
“A bid for the 2030 Commonwealth Games wouldn’t be required to be put in for four years, so there’s a good period of time to work through obstacles to overcome and to actually see how viable it is and what benefits it would bring to Victoria,” Mr Donnellan said.
But he said hosting the large number of international athletes and tourists would be a challenge.
“It’d be basic infrastructure more than anything else, because it’s not often you’ve got to have a large group of people in on particular town — you know, maybe 20,000 people, all at once, it’s not easy to accommodate,” he said.
“They’re the types of things we’d have to work through to make sure the experience people have is a good one.”
Commonwealth Games to ‘showcase’ country Australia
The plan has been backed by athletes including Olympic basketballer Lauren Jackson.
Independent Shepparton MP Suzanna Sheed has also given it support.
“In politics, it is so easy to think in 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 Catlin said it would give regional Victorians the chance to enjoy major events usually reserved for big cities.
“Country Australia is the engine room of this country whether it be in agriculture, dairying, manufacturing, yet it’s often the big cities that are the ones that the front and centre,”