Limited options for housing athletes in Ballarat for the 2026 Commonwealth Games has been cited as a key cost blowout as the Victorian Government finished negotiations to pull out of their contract.
The state government will pay $380 million to end the contact with The Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Federation Partnerships and Commonwealth Games Australia after they announced they would no longer host the games.
The state treasurer Tim Pallas told the media on Saturday morning the costs of breaking the contract will come from the 2022/23 budget of $2.6 billion.
This $2.6 billion will also cover sporting infrastructure promised once the games were cancelled in July, including upgrades to Mars Stadium and a sporting facility in Miners Rest.
Mr Pallas said all four villages, in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland would cost four times the amount estimated in 2022.
It was partly due to the strict requirements set out by the games authority, Mr Pallas said.
It included how far the athletes can stay from the sporting facilities.
"There were limited locations, for example in Ballarat ... some of these locations would not have been suitable for permanent housing," Mr Pallas said.
"This was not attractive for the private sector to partner with us."
The treasurer said costs to police and security has doubled to over $400 million and transport costs for athletes and officials has tripled to $300 million.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday that paying $380 million to break the contract was the best option for the state, which avoided years spent in courts overseas.
Saleyards back to square one - housing on the rocks
Now the state government is not building the athletes villages, they have committed to spend $1 billion on housing in regional Victoria.
Mr Andrews said they expect this will cover at least 1300 houses, but expected they will "do better" than this goal.
These houses might not be coming to Ballarat.
The premier said the houses would go wherever "there is the greatest need, not just in regional cities".
The government has not committed to remediating the saleyards site.
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Mr Andrews said he could not "provide more details" of the future of the site, but would continue discussions with the community and council.
He said the site could be used for a different purpose, not just housing.
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