Gippsland’s turn for Comm Games Inquiry hearing

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the 2026 Commonwealth Games Bid today held a public hearing in the Latrobe Valley.

Gippsland sporting organisations and accommodation businesses provided compelling testimony.

Serving on the Committee Inquiry, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath asked questions on the impacts of the Games cancellation.

Witnesses included, Katie Reardon, Farnham Court Motel, Morwell; Adam Glass General Manager Silverwater Resort San Remo; Ken Balcombe, Morwell Gun Club; Garry Silvester, Latrobe Valley Badminton; Tony Salvatore Falcons 2000 Soccer Club; and Latrobe City Council CEO, Steven Piasante.

Listening to locals disappointment and frustration Ms Bath said the hearing highlighted the state government’s appalling planning and consultation.

“Witnesses spoke of the uncertainty around promised legacy projects and the need for concrete timelines for sports infrastructure and affordable housing”.

Ms Bath said the hearing was vital for locals to give their uncensored perspective and echo community expectations following the cancellation.

“What I heard was an overwhelming sense of shock and disappointment at the lost opportunity to showcase our region, stimulate jobs, the economy and civic pride.

“Given the social and economic challenges facing Latrobe Valley, it was critical for members of parliament to listen and understand the implications of broken promises.

“Businesses expressed their anger at the state government for having wasted their valuable time and money, raising expectations and trashing Victoria’s international reputation.

“Farnham Court Motel owner Katie Reardon signed an agreement to host Team England just 24 hours prior to the cancellation announcement, she described the decision as “cruel” and said it left her feeling physically sick.

“It’s eight months since the Games were cancelled, and Latrobe Valley organisations are still in the dark about funding, with scant details on the delivery of promised legacy projects.

“No wonder the debacle was labelled “cruel” – the state government built expectation, sporting organisations rallied, small businesses ramped up and planned and then the rug was pulled out from underneath them.

“The abandonment of the Commonwealth Games was shocking, but our region deserves its fair share of funding, and I thank those who came forward to present their compelling case.”