The Victorian opposition has announced it will make Shepparton a regional hub for the 2026 Commonwealth Games if it is elected in November.
- The Victorian opposition has promised Shepparton will be included as a hub for the Games if elected
- Greater Shepparton was behind the original campaign to bring the Games to regional Victoria
- The Liberal and National parties say they will fight for the city to host sports such as shooting and 3×3 basketball
Greater Shepparton was behind the commencement of the campaign in 2017 to bid for the Commonwealth Games to be held in regional Victoria, and the opposition’s spokesperson for sport Cindy McLeish said the city was snubbed when the regional hubs were announced by the state government in April.
“I think everybody in Shepparton is pretty cheesed-off that they did so much of the heavy lifting and the thinking behind this, and they’ve really drawn the short straw when it comes to the allocation of sports to regional Victoria,” Ms McLeish said.
The Liberal and National parties have also committed to advocating for Shepparton to host some of the optional Commonwealth Games sports such as 3×3 basketball and shooting.
Leader of the Victorian Nationals, Peter Walsh, said they would also use some of the $2.6 billion set aside to help the state prepare for the Games to upgrade facilities in Shepparton, such as the Shepparton Sports Stadium, to host sports.
“There’s a big pot of money for the Commonwealth Games. That pot could make sure this stadium is upgraded to help host the basketball,” he said.
In a statement, Minister for Commonwealth Games Delivery Jacinta Allan said they want the Games to extend far beyond the four regional hubs of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland, and create lasting impacts for towns and cities including Shepparton.
She said all hubs are required to be approved by the Commonwealth Games Australia and Federation boards.
Greater Shepparton welcomes announcement
Deputy mayor of Greater Shepparton City Council, Anthony Brophy, said the council welcomed the announcement.
“We were very disappointed with the actual outcome for what was announced a couple of months ago and we’ve been lobbying very hard with not only the government at the moment but also with Jeroen Weimar and working in behind the scenes,” he said.
Mr Brophy said the city stands ready to host sports and events for the Commonwealth Games.
“Shepparton and Greater Shepparton is known for its sports. It’s known for hosting major events,” he said.
“We’ve got facilities here and we’re ready to go.”
The state government has not indicated what sports or events it Shepparton could hold.
“We’re working hard to ensure Shepparton gets the maximum benefits from the Commonwealth Games in 2026,” Ms Allan’s statement said.
“An EOI is open for communities to put their hands up to get involved from hosting sports, warm up events, training camps, the cultural program and other activations.”