Comm Games could be pushed to 2027 to find new host

The Commonwealth Games could be pushed back a year to allow an Australian host to salvage the event after Victoria pulled the plug.

Organisers are busy working on a "final solution" for the event, Commonwealth Games Australia told a Senate inquiry probing the Andrews government's decision to cancel the 2026 Games.

Chief executive Craig Phillips said the Commonwealth Games Federation, the international body that oversees the event, was open to delaying the next Games until 2027 to give any potential host more time to prepare.

But what form the event takes is yet to be decided, with the potential for a scaled-back Games or a co-hosting arrangement with another country, like New Zealand, still on the cards.

"We need to make sure that the Games match the host, and not the other way round," Mr Phillips told the committee in Canberra on Friday.

"So it'll be a tailored solution. 

"From our perspective, we need a Games for our athletes, so whatever the final solution is, from our perspective, will be satisfactory."

In July, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced Victoria was withdrawing from hosting the 2026 Games across regional areas as estimated costs had blown out to as much as $7 billion.

It was recently agreed the state would pay organisers $380 million in compensation.

Mr Phillips hopes to have a solution in place by November, when the Commonwealth Games general assembly meets in Singapore. 

But opposition sport spokeswoman Anne Ruston hit out at a perceived lack of urgency by the organising committee after revelations it was yet to meet with any federal ministers, nor the premiers of Queensland and Western Australia.

"I'd really like to know when you're going to get that fire in your belly and start getting out there," the senator said.

Mr Phillips insisted organisers were not resting on their laurels.

"Without belabouring the point, we're not rushing to a 'no'," he said.

"We do have to make sure we're ready.

"Right now in the marketplace there's a price tag of six to seven billion dollars - we have to take the time to actually dismantle that."

Senator Ruston decried a lack of engagement from the Commonwealth despite Australia as a whole suffering the reputational consequences of the Victorian government's decision.

Mr Phillips suggested the pervading view from overseas is that the 2026 Games are a "national problem" for Australia alone to deal with.

"It's not a Victorian problem, there's no distinction," he said. 

"People see this as Australia finding a solution."

The Senate inquiry was originally established to assess Australia's preparedness to host the Games, as well as the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics but submissions were reopened after Victoria dumped the event.

Mr Phillips, who previously described Victoria's estimated cost overruns as a gross exaggeration, said he could not say if the deal to terminate the contract barred him from criticising the Andrews government.

Mr Andrews and Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan declined an invitation to attend or provide evidence to the inquiry.

The pair also cannot be compelled to appear before a separate state inquiry, but Victorian opposition finance spokeswoman Jess Wilson argued they are duty-bound.

"They need to answer questions and explain to Victorians how we actually found ourself in this situation," she told reporters.

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