The Victorian Government has pulled out of hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games and instead announced a $2 billion investment in regional Victoria. Premier Daniel Andrews announced on July 18 the cost of the Games had blown out and did "not represent value for money". "What has become clear is that the cost of hosting these Games in 2026 is not the $2.6 billion which was budgeted... it is in fact at least $6 billion and could be as high as $7 billion," he said. "We have informed Commonwealth Games authorities of our decision to seek to terminate the contract and to not host the Games." Mr Andrews wouldn't disclose how much had been spent on the Games already but said all costs would be made public after contract negotiations were complete. But he said it was not a difficult decision to cancel the Games. "We're simply not going to invest that sort of money and have to take it away from key service delivery from other parts of government in order to deliver a 12-day sporting event," he said. Commonwealth Games Australia chief executive Craig Phillips said the costs stated by the Premier were "a gross exaggeration". "The Victorian Government wilfully ignored recommendations to move events to purpose-built stadia in Melbourne and in fact remained wedded to proceeding with expensive temporary venues in regional Victoria," he said. He said the Victorian Government had "jeopardised Melbourne and Victoria's standing as a sporting capital of the world" and issued a warning. "I would be very careful if I was an international sporting body coming along and doing business in this state in the future," he said. The Commonwealth Games Federation responded to the announcement and said it was disappointed it was "only given eight hours' notice" and the government had not considered working together to find a solution. "The numbers quoted to us today of $6 billion are 50 per cent more than those advised to the Organising Committee board at its meeting in June," the CGF said in a statement. IN OTHER NEWS: It said the higher costs were due to the government's decision to host the Games across regional Victoria, requiring the building of athlete villages, venues and transport infrastructure. The CGF said the Victorian Government made decisions after it was awarded the Games against the advice from CGF and Commonwealth Games Australia, to include more sports and another regional hub, and changed plans for venues which all contributed to further costs. "Up until this point, the government had advised that sufficient funding was available to deliver the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games," the CGF said. "We are taking advice on the options available to us and remain committed to finding a solution for the Games in 2026 that is in the best interest of our athletes and the wider Commonwealth Sport Movement." Mr Andrews announced a $2 billion regional package with all planned upgrades and building of sporting facilities for the Games to still go ahead. The package includes a $250 million regional tourism fund, $60 million community sporting package and $1 billion for social and affordable housing across regional Victoria for more than 1300 new homes. Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan said a key reason the government had initially agreed to host the Games was the legacy benefits for regional communities. "Each and every one of the community sporting infrastructure projects that we had been in detailed planning and design... will be going ahead," she said. This includes upgrades to Ballarat's Eureka Stadium, a new exhibition centre at Bendigo Showgrounds and new BMX facilities in Shepparton. City of Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson said it was disappointing to miss out on showcasing the city to the world, but said he had been assured the infrastructure projects would be carried out. "The level of investment that Ballarat is to receive is almost a once-in-a-generation opportunity where such significant amounts of funding, over $150 million of delivery for Commonwealth Games alone is going to be delivered," he said. Greater Geelong Mayor Trent Sullivan said the council was disappointed by the announcement but understood the financial pressures facing all levels of government. "This is a very disappointing result, as Geelong and the other regional host cities had been promised a huge amount of tourism, economic, social, and sporting benefits would flow from hosting the Games," he said. "We especially feel for the significant number of Geelong-based government employees who had been working on this event, towards the 2026 deadline." Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto said the withdrawal from the Games was "a massive humiliation" for the state. "This decision is a betrayal of regional Victoria and confirms that Victoria is broke and Labor simply cannot manage major projects without huge cost blowouts," he said. Leader of the Nationals in Victoria Peter Walsh said it was "damaging to [the state's] reputation as a global events leader". Broadcaster Bruce McAvaney, a long-time commentator at the Commonwealth Games and Olympics, said on 3AW it was embarrassing internationally due to how close the event was. He said the Commonwealth Games were facing challenges but still had an important role to play. "The big problem is that not many countries, not many cities, want to host them - we've gone basically down to Australia, Great Britain and Canada," he said. The premiers of NSW, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia have all ruled out bidding to host the 2026 Games. The two-week sporting festival in March 2026 was touted as regional Victoria's games with Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton and Gippsland to host athletes and events. The government estimated the Games would contribute more than $3 billion to the state's economy and create more than 7500 jobs.