Premier Jacinta Allan should apologise to athletes for betraying them over her broken promise to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
In a scathing submission to the inquiry into the $600 million debacle, Athletics Australia said the Commonwealth Games’ brand “may never recover” from Labor’s decision to cancel the event.
Athletics Australia said “hundreds of past athletes who have competed in the green and gold for Australia with pride will now experience a diminished public perception on the value of their performances in this event”.
It added: “The manner in which the news of the cancellation was delivered further compounded the angst, with the then Premier of Victoria stating he made no apology for cancelling the Games to instead invest in regional Victoria.
“The upheaval this decision has caused for athletics in Victoria and Australia as well as the Commonwealth Games is immeasurable with a blatant disregard for the significant logistical, emotional, financial and reputational damage caused.”
Athletics Australia said the cancellation would undermine track and field competitors right through to the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane.
Shadow Minister for Tourism, Sport and Events, Sam Groth, said: “This is a scathing submission that highlights the impact of Jacinta Allan’s $600 million debacle on not just Victoria’s reputation but also sport and athletes.
“Jacinta Allan has so far refused to appear before the inquiry to explain her role in this costly debacle. If she won’t do that, the very least she can do is apologise to the athletes who won’t get to compete for their country on home soil.”