Victoria’s regional councils are set to gain an economic boost, with Victoria confirmed as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the state’s regional councils set to host most major events.
The announcement by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) comes after a period of exclusive negotiations, with Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) and the Victorian Government submitting a delivery concept for consideration in March
It is estimated the 2026 Commonwealth Games will contribute more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating more than 600 full-time equivalent jobs before the Games, 3,900 jobs during the Games and a further 3,000 jobs beyond the Closing Ceremony.
While the opening ceremony will be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Games will be held across multiple regions, creating a new multi-city model.
Four regional hubs will be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with their own athletes’ village and sport program.
The regional hubs will host athletes, officials and fans following an Opening Ceremony at the iconic MCG, using Melbourne as the gateway to regional Victoria.
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said it’s a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
“We can’t wait to welcome the world to all of our state,” Mr Andrews said.
“The Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria is great for jobs, hospitality and our economy.”
President of CGF, Dame Louise Martin, said the CGF is absolutely delighted to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria.
“CGA and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision that provides an exciting new blueprint for hosting our major multi-sport event,” Dame Martin said.
President of CGA, Ben Houston, said “CGA is thrilled to welcome the athletes of the Commonwealth back to Australia and we look forward to working with both the CGF and the Victorian Government to bring the Games to life across Victoria in 2026.”
Victoria 2026 will also invest significantly in community infrastructure, including housing and world-class sports facilities.
This will leave a legacy of affordable housing for the regions and modern sports infrastructure, to encourage Victorians to get active and attract future major events.
Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, said hosting the Commonwealth Games in four years’ time will deliver major benefits, particularly for the regions, and leave a lasting legacy for the growth and development of sport throughout Victoria.
Regional councils celebrate announcement
City of Greater Geelong and City of Ballarat Council have both welcomed the Victoria 2026 announcement.
City of Greater Geelong Deputy Mayor, Trent Sullivan, said that Geelong will host seven sporting events including the aquatics (swimming, para swimming and diving), beach volleyball, gymnastics, hockey, triathlon and para triathlon, T20 cricket matches, table tennis and para table tennis.
“The Games attract more than 5,000 athletes from more than 70 nations, so the economic benefits for our tourism, events and hospitality industries will be enormous,” Deputy Mayor Sullivan said.
“This is not just about sport: thousands of athletes and spectators will experience the growing buzz about Geelong, including our fabulous food, culture, and beaches.
“After the Games the athlete’s hub could be turned into affordable housing and leave lasting benefits for our region.
“We want to use the Commonwealth Games as an opportunity to deliver a legacy for our region for decades to come.
“A Regional Indoor Sports and Events Centre is a priority project for Council and we are developing a business case to advocate for funding from the Victorian and Australian Governments for this critical facility.”
Ballarat will host the majority of sporting events for the Commonwealth Games, with Ballarat named as the host city for athletics, para athletics, boxing and cricket T20.
City of Ballarat Mayor, Councillor Daniel Moloney, said a regionally focused Commonwealth Games would deliver endless opportunities and economic benefits for Ballarat.
“Ballarat has a long standing history and a strong track record of being able to host national and international level events,” Mayor Moloney said.
“Dating back to rowing at Lake Wendouree for the 1956 Olympics all the way through to present day hosting the National Road Cycling Championships, AFL, A-League soccer and international and national level basketball – we are confident our city can deliver a world class event.
“We are incredibly excited at this once in a generation opportunity for the City of Ballarat to build legacy infrastructure, both sporting, transport and housing. It will fast track and deliver on some of our key priorities.”
Shepparton will also host sporting and cultural events as part of Victoria 2026.
There will also be a strong para sport program, with six sports already locked in.
Beyond the Games
Further work is being done with the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia to determine if additional sports will be included in the Victoria 2026 program, which may open opportunities for other locations to host events.
Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas said, “We’ve always known the value of regional Victoria and the 2026 Commonwealth Games will provide a chance to showcase all we have to offer to the world.”
Victoria 2026 will also feature a program of cultural and business engagement experiences that bring to life the Commonwealth Games values of humanity, equality and destiny – embracing the state’s diversity and rich cultural history.
A Victoria-wide program of live sites and activations will ensure visitors are welcomed in every corner of the state, with the Queen’s Baton Relay to traverse the regions in the weeks leading up to the Opening Ceremony.
Featured Image: City of Greater Geelong Council celebrates Victoria 2026 announcement. Image Courtesy of City of Greater Geelong.