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Top officials to front Comm Games cancellation inquiry

Pulling the pin on Victoria's Commonwealth Games cost the state more than $589 million.

Pulling the pin on Victoria's Commonwealth Games cost the state more than $589 million. Photo: AAP

Top Victorian government officials tasked with delivering the 2026 Commonwealth Games face a grilling before a state parliamentary inquiry.

The upper house inquiry into Victoria’s shock decision in July to cancel hosting the Games across five regional hubs will open public hearings on Monday.

Former chair of the now-defunct 2026 Games organising committee Peggy O’Neal and its ex-chief executive Jeroen Weimar are among the first officials listed to appear.

In a submission to the inquiry last week, the organising committee said it became clear its share of the event’s initial $2.6 billion Games budget was insufficient.

The committee subsequently asked the Victorian government for a $722 million boost to its original $1 billion budget on February 22.

Ms O’Neal later wrote to then-Games delivery minister Jacinta Allan, who has since replaced Daniel Andrews as state premier, on April 4 highlighting “the critical timelines for decision making”.

No extra funding for the sports event was outlined in the budget.

Ms Allan told parliament she received the correspondence but did not respond to Ms O’Neal until after the Games were called off.

Other officials scheduled to front the inquiry on Monday include Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Jeremi Moule and former CEO of the government’s dedicated Games office Allen Garner.

Inquiry chair David Limbrick said the upper house committee would be seeking answers on the Games’ cancellation from those closest to the organising process.

“We’ll be interrogating the advice provided to government, taking a sharp look at the governance, probity and procurement of this event,” he said.

An interim report is due to be handed to parliament by the end of April 2024 and a final report 12 months later.

– AAP

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