Senate Inquiry – Comm Games, 29 August

05/09/2023

Members may be aware Committee for Ballarat was invited to present to a Senate inquiry considering Australia’s preparedness to host the Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games. We had provided a written submission originally in May and were subsequently invited to the panel hearing in Bendigo on 29 August.

In presenting to the Senate Committee, I wanted to ensure the voice of our members was heard. It was an opportunity to not only provide an understanding of the impacts of the decision to cancel the games, but importantly to position our members, and the community more broadly, as we look to work constructively with government to ensure the commitments made will be delivered.

Our approach was balanced and represented what Committee has heard and discussed with members since the Games were announced in 2022. Central to our submission to the hearing was the disappointing level of engagement between our ‘community’ generally and the Office of the Commonwealth Games (OCG).

As you will be aware, we have been active in promoting opportunities for our region in the key areas of housing, transport, the visitor economy, city activation and zero emissions technology – not just in relation to the Games themselves but well beyond in the form of legacy outcomes.

At the hearing, I also advocated strongly for the commitments the state government has made since their announcement to cancel the games. The accessibility upgrade to the Ballarat railway station, the increase in capacity for Mars Stadium, the new athletics facility at the old Showgrounds site, the community sports facilities at Miners Rest and the remediation of the old Sale Yards site are all projects of significance. We welcome the comments made in recent weeks by both Minister Allan and Minister Shing in support of these projects, including at our recent Round Table Dinner with Minister Shing.

I also ensured the Senate Committee was aware of the significant work the City of Ballarat has done to ensure that planning for these projects is now well advanced, and that we are very keen to see work completed within the 2026 timeframe.

You can read the full submission here

Michael Poulton
CEO, Committee for Ballarat