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Brisbane Olympics safe despite Commonwealth Games axing, says PM

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the future of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics is secure, despite Victoria’s shock decision to cancel the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the state could not go ahead with the 2026 games as the price tag had blown out to about $7 billion, more than double the initial estimate.

Mr Albanese said he was shocked by the decision of the Commonwealth Games cancellation, but reassured that the future Olympics would go ahead in nine years’ time.

“The planning is well under way there. I’ve met with (Queensland) Premier (Annastacia) Palaszczuk many times. That’s a great global event, of course,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB on Wednesday.

“Everyone’s looking forward to the Brisbane Olympics – (they) will be a very big deal.”

Related story: Thousands have their say on 2032 Games legacy

The prime minister said he was disappointed for the Australian athletes who would not get to compete at a major sporting event at home.

“Obviously, it’s not something that we were anticipating, given that it’s been in the wind for some time,” he said.

“The regret is for the athletes, who will be hurt by this. The idea of competing at your own games is always a positive thing.”

There are plans for new indoor sports centre and upgraded stadium at Kawana that could host Olympic events in 2032.

The cost of running the Commonwealth Games had been fiercely disputed by organisers who claim the government ignored cost-cutting options such as moving the event to Melbourne.

Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips said the decision was “beyond disappointing” and the price of the event would be less than half of what Mr Andrews claimed.

He hoped another Australian region could step in to host, but no leader has volunteered to take on the event.

“We know there is strong interest in the Games and strong love of the Games here in Australia,” Mr Phillips said.

“We’ll reset after this and move on, and look to see whether we can continue to be the host nation for 2026.”

Related story: How region is placed to play 2032 Games role

Victorian Liberal senator Jane Hume said the state government had mishandled the situation.

“This is because Victoria is broke – we are a failed state and it’s because of the incompetence of this government,” she told Seven’s Sunrise program.

“In any other state, somebody would resign. Unfortunately, Dan Andrews is going to say ‘not my fault, not my problem’.”

NSW Premier Chris Minns said his state was not in a position due to record debt and a need to follow through on election promises.

That was rebuffed by the opposition, who said the state was the “obvious home” for the games.

Ms Palaszczuk said she was focused on the 2032 Olympic Games while West Australian counterpart Roger Cook said he would prefer to invest money in schools and hospitals.

The Gabba is set to be redeveloped for the 2032 Olympics. Picture: Shutterstock

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, who was chair of the 2018 Games, told the ABC the only viable hope for the future of the 2026 Games was for them to go back to Birmingham, which still had the infrastructure after hosting them in 2022.

South Australia, the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have also ruled out taking on hosting duties.

Victoria was the only bidder for the Games with five regional cities originally slated to host sporting events.

The state government has promised to still pump $2b into the regions through housing, infrastructure and tourism.

Business and industry groups were concerned Victoria’s reputation as a major events destination had been jeopardised but welcomed efforts to rein in state debt, which is forecast to top $171b by 2027.

It’s the second time a Games host has dropped out in recent years, after South African city Durban lost the 2022 event and Birmingham stepped in take over.

The Commonwealth Games was last cancelled during World War II.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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