Shepparton Bids for the Commonwealth Games

Posted on 13 Apr 2017

Please note: this is an old article

It was published in April 2017, so the information may be out-of-date.

Eleven Victorian regional cities and towns are launching a revolutionary bid to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games.

In what is a world first, the bid — dubbed the People’s Games — isn’t spearheaded by a single host city.

Instead it promises that events, and thousands of athletes, would be split across the regional centres.

The bid, which has been kept under wraps by its organising committee for months, will be unveiled today at Victoria Park Lake in central Shepparton.

Other cities and towns involved are Geelong, Bendigo, Nagambie, Warrnambool/Port Campbell, Wodonga, Mount Buller, Mildura, Yarrawonga, Traralgon, and Ballarat.

The plan would turbocharge a regional jobs and economic boom but would bypass Melbourne. No events will be slated for the state’s capital.

A select group of prominent Victorians, including Heloise Pratt AM, former Swisse CEO Radek Sali, and former basketball champion Lauren Jackson, were secretly approached to spearhead the bid.

Shepparton mayor Dinny Adem said the “first of its kind” vision for a People’s Games could form a blueprint for future events, given the infrastructure required and the costs involved in hosting such global sporting competitions.

Mr Adem said: “Importantly, staging a groundbreaking concept such as this across regional cities and towns will leave a legacy for millions of people like we have never seen before. The economic and social impact will be so significant — not to mention the wave of optimism that would sweep the state.”

A detailed plan has been presented to Premier Daniel Andrews and Sport Minister John Eren, and to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Sport Minister Greg Hunt.

Both governments are expected to be asked for millions of dollars to help get the bid off the ground. A proposal will also be put to the Commonwealth Games Association.

Under the plan, led by the Greater Shepparton city council, Shepparton would likely host the opening and closing ceremonies, if it secures funding for a stadium. Geelong’s Simonds Stadium could also vie for the honour.

The Herald Sun understands up to $1 billion would be needed to properly cost the bid and develop an airtight plan on how the regional towns would manage their sports. Sources close to the taskforce believe it can raise the money.

The state government contributed $691 million to stage the 2006 Games in Melbourne. Contributions from federal and local governments added to a combined $1 billion plus

A KPMG analysis showed about 13,600 jobs were created.

The Games taskforce committee will meet in its entirety for the first time today.

Chaired by former Swisse Wellness managing director Adem Karafili, members include deputy Nick Holland, Ms Pratt, Peter Crinis, Mr Sali, Mitch Catlin, Andrew Ryan, Leon Spellson, Jeanette Powell, Jackson, John Steffensen, Marg Zita, and Mr Adem.

The group will meet with the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Association Craig Phillips later this month, and all municipal mayors and their CEOs have been asked to attend a workshop on April 28.

The Games would be expected to be a boon to regions hit recently by job losses.

Suzanna Sheed, the independent member for Shepparton, said it would provide a “wonderful” and much needed financial boost, and allow the government to show a commitment to regional Victoria.

“It means so much to country communities in so many ways. It can really give people pride in their town. It’s pleasing to see a project with a longer-term benefit,” she said.

Greater Shepparton city council is also proposing three test events: cricket, softball or beach volleyball in Mildura; sailing on Yarrawonga’s Lake Mulwala; and BMX in Shepparton, which is currently bidding for the BMX World Cup.

Article curtesy of the Herald Sun from Thursday 13 April 2017. Written by Jackie Epstein.