Victoria has been confirmed as the host of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with sports to be hosted at a number of regional centres, creating a new multi-city model for the Games.

Four regional hubs will be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with their own athletes’ village and sport program. The regional hubs will host athletes, officials and fans following an Opening Ceremony at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Shepparton will also host sporting and cultural events.

Daylesford, Hepburn and the whole of the Shire are well placed to benefit from the decision because of their location approximately equidistant from three of the competition venues in Ballarat, Geelong and Bendigo. There is work to be done by the Shire to maximise the potential tourism and infrastructure benefits for our community.

Daylesford is well situated as a jumping off point for spectators who wish to visit multiple sporting venues in the three nearby centres. There is likely to be increased public transport between venues and Daylesford is situated on the main routes between Bendigo and either Ballarat or Geelong. There are significant accommodation and tourism opportunities for the region.

Victoria 2026 will invest significantly in community infrastructure, including housing and world-class sports facilities. This will leave a legacy of affordable housing for the regions and modern sports infrastructure to encourage Victorians to get active and attract future major events.

In early rounds of team sport competitions, Daylesford and Hepburn could provide competition venues and benefit from the substantial sums to be invested in regional sports infrastructure.

Visiting teams often hold training camps away from the main competition venues. If Daylesford had an indoor 50m pool, it would be an attractive option for visiting swimming teams. Upgrades to Victoria Park or Laurie Sullivan Reserve could attract visiting T20 cricket teams for preparation leading to the competitions.

It is estimated the 2026 Commonwealth Games will contribute more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating more than 600 full-time equivalent jobs before the Games, 3,900 jobs during the Games and a further 3,000 jobs beyond the Closing Ceremony.

Bendigo will host cricket, lawn bowls, netball, squash and weight lifting. Geelong will host aquatics, beach volleyball, gymnastics, hockey, table tennis, cricket and triathlon. Ballarat will host athletics, boxing and cricket. A feature of the Commonwealth Games is that able-bodied and para sports are fully integrated in the program.

Further work is being done with the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia to determine if additional sports will be included in the Victoria 2026 program, which may open opportunities for other locations to host events.

Beyond the field of play, Victoria 2026 will feature a program of cultural and business engagement experiences that bring to life the Commonwealth Games values of humanity, equality and destiny – and embracing the state’s diversity and rich cultural history.

A Victoria-wide program of live sites and activations will ensure visitors are welcomed in every corner of the state, with the Queen’s Baton Relay to traverse the regions in the weeks leading up to the Opening Ceremony.

Local member, Mar-Anne Thomas said, “We’ve always known the value of regional Victoria and the 2026 Commonwealth Games will provide a chance to showcase all we have to offer to the world.”

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