As the dust settles on the cancellation announcement of the Victorian Commonwealth Games, opinion is divided as to whether the Andrews Government has done the right thing. It’s what happens next that matters more.
Business confidence in the Labor State Government’s ability to deliver the Commonwealth Games has only ever been lukewarm at best. Previous deadline announcements lacked detail whilst regional updates and forums held in Geelong failed to provide clarity and answer questions. There was rarely any genuine excitement from the Geelong business community which you would rightly expect when your regional city is on the doorstep of hosting an international event.
The announcement to cancel the Games, whilst a surprise to many, was not a shock to most.
The Commonwealth Games may be lost but there is still plenty of work to do on the back of Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement and that time starts now. The State Government has a rare second chance card to play but the mistakes of the past 2 years simply cannot be repeated.
Businesses have taken the opportunity to utilise the Commonwealth Games procurement hub and these businesses have invested time, effort and resources into tenders aimed at boosting their future. They will be feeling the pain of this cancellation announcement and the Geelong community will rally in support for those that need it.
The Premier’s announcement sparks an opportunity for the Geelong business community to rally behind and support the alternative regional investment package. Affordable housing, community infrastructure, and sporting stadiums are required investments the Labor State Government need to deliver to support growth and prosperity of the Greater Geelong region.
Furthermore, these regional investments must be provided with a local procurement strategy. More than 7,500 jobs associated with the Commonwealth Games will likely disappear but the right thing to do is for the State Government to further support local skills, training and job creation demonstrating a tangible legacy driving a regional economic boost well beyond 2026.
What the Geelong community will not tolerate is more miscalculated investment, project timing and infrastructure delivery that lacks purpose, clarity and completion. Our community deserves outcomes and a consultative approach is required.
Legacy projects no longer need to be delivered to Commonwealth Games specifications or deadlines.
The Geelong Chamber of Commerce is calling on Premier Dan Andrews to ensure the promised infrastructure is built right for the region. Through engagement with sporting organisations, the City of Greater Geelong, business organisations and relevant stakeholder groups, there is a window of opportunity to get this right. The proposed regional investment decisions must be well-thought, strategic, and consultatively made ensuring that Geelong receives legacy infrastructure that meets the needs of our community now and into the future.
Sustainable serviceability is imperative. Bricks and mortar investments are welcomed but must be met with operational support ensuring new community assets remain accessible and affordable to all. Financially sustainable community service delivery needs to be accurately considered and appropriately supported.
With the previously immovable deadline of the Commonwealth Games now irrelevant, we simply cannot allow time to get away. The time to act on the investment promises and legacy delivery is now and the Geelong community is more ready than ever.
Geelong Chamber of Commerce