Contributed by Joe Montero
Most of us get taken up by major sports events like the Commonwealth games and were looking forward for the next ones to take place in Australia. But as everyone knows now, they are off because the Victorian government says the state can’t afford the cost blowout.
When all in considered, the state’s premier Dan Andrews was right to have the courage to say no. The cost blowout to $7 billion is far too much. There are far more important needs for the money to be spent on.
Photo by James Ross/AAP: Victoria’s premier Dan Andrews cancels Commonwealth Games
Efforts by parliamentary opponents trying to use the issue for their own political gain don’t deserve to be rewarded for it. There are those functionaries and businesses suffering the loss of their own benefits. But their gain should not be at the cost of everyone else’s loss.
The memory over the Tasmanian football stadium debacle is still fresh. Tasmanians held that other needs were more important. They killed it, and Dan Andrews has undoubtedly and for good reason taken this into account.
Channelling a significant part of the state’s budget to which is, after all a circus, would be irresponsible. In the end, Victorians will not thank a government that did this and subsequently imposed the cost on them through cuts in services.
At a time when Australians are suffering from a cost of living blowout, there is a crying need to provide relief through more expenditure on affordable housing, health, and other measures that will help maintain a reasonable standard of living.
Money must be spent on transitioning to cleaner energy and building the infrastructure that help will generate a healthier economy to provide decent jobs and lift our income.
When a cost blowout on of this magnitude, up from $2.6 billion takes place, it throws up the suspicion that something not quite right has happened. The reasons for the blowout have not been made public. But the difference is too big to not suspect that contractors tired to overcharge.
The Commonwealth Games have long been an opportunity for opportunists to fill their pockets. an association between sport on this scale and corruption has been reality of life for a long time. It is a magnet for corrupt behaviour through tendering, construction, and in the landing immensely profitable broadcast contracts.
It turns out that one of the big four American consulting firms. Ernst and Young (EY) has been commissioned to work out the estimates. This begs the question. To what extent are they responsible for the mess? This is a valid question to ask in the light of the PwC scandal and its fallout over all the consulting giants.
Ernst and Young logo
Stripped of the fanfare to its bare essentials, there is another undeniable fact. The Commonwealth Games are a hangover of a British Empire that no longer exists. Member countries overall are losing their interest, as the striving to break away from the past and the republican sentiment rise. The games are fast losing their relevance, and few nations and cities want to foot the bill involved with hosting them. Few are making the offer.
Consequently, people are asking whether the cancelling of the deal by Victoria is a sign that the end is coming. The only thing we can be sure of is that the Commonwealth Games will eventually pass away through a natural death.
Athletes who have been training towards being at their peak are suffering the main disappointment. Our heart goes out to them. But let’s put this into proper perspective. This is not the end of the world. Sporting competition will go on. There will be an Olympic Games. After which, the Commonwealth Games have been a poor cousin.