Taskforce chairman says Bendigo well placed to hold major events

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An artists impression of the Bendigo stadium, which is slated to hold women's basketball in regional Victoria's 2030 Commonwealth Games bid.

An artists impression of the Bendigo stadium, which is slated to hold women's basketball in regional Victoria's 2030 Commonwealth Games bid.

Bendigo’s flourishing list of stadia leaves it well placed to host a number of Commonwealth Games events, according to regional Victoria’s 2030 games bid chair, who admitted informing councils of the move “could have been done better”.   

Taskforce chairman Adem Karafili said the “real work” moving forward was establishing what was being built across Victoria, and if construction could be altered to accommodate a tilt at hosting an international event.

“Is it early enough to change infrastructure projects currently underway and influence that? We’re looking at the most-cost effective way of doing things,” said Mr Karafili, who met with the City of Greater Bendigo on Thursday.  

Bendigo is tentatively placed to hold the track cycling, diving, swimming and women’s basketball. 

Construction of the Bendigo Stadium, which, if a bid proves successful, is slated to host the women’s basketball, is expected to be completed this year, while the indoor aquatic centre is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

“As we scratched the surface we’ve seen there’s going to be more opportunities than initially thought,” he said.

The joint bid announcement shocked a number of regional councils, some of which were informed of the bid a day before it was publicised.

Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke suggested the bid “was a surprise”.

“There has been some angst over the timing of that (announcement), all I can do is acknowledge it could have been done better and move on,” Mr Karafili said. 

The cultural and financial legacy of a regional Victorian games was a priority for the taskforce, he said. 

“We don’t want to ask money for a stadium that’s never going to be used again,” he said.

“We want to make sure the games as they occur actually deliver a real economic benefit over time and not a burden,” said Mr Karafili, referencing the recent decision to strip Durban of the 2022 Commonwealth Games because of financial issues, and the controversy surrounding Qatar’s World Cup 2022 preparations.

Eleven regional towns are penciled in to share hosted events in the pioneering proposal driven by the The Greater Shepparton City Council.

However, Portland, Swan Hill, Horsham and Wangaratta publicly put their hands up to host events recently.