Perth de­clared ‘ide­ally suited’ for Com Games

The Sunday Times - - News - JOE SPAGNOLO Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

COM­MON­WEALTH Games or­gan­is­ers have vis­ited Perth to as­sess the city’s sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, declar­ing it is “ide­ally suited” to host the event.

Of­fi­cials from the Lon­don­based Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion — headed by chief ex­ec­u­tive David Grevem­berg — toured Perth last week and met se­nior WA Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

The group in­spected 11 fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing Op­tus Sta­dium, which was de­signed to host a Com­mon­wealth Games and can eas­ily be re­con­fig­ured to al­low for a 400m ath­let­ics tracks.

Other venues were nib Sta­dium, HBF Sta­dium, RAC Arena, the State Ath­let­ics Cen­tre, State Bas­ket­ball Cen­tre, HBF Arena, Cham­pion Lakes Re­gatta Cen­tre, Mid­vale Speed Dome and Perth Hockey Sta­dium, as well as Lan­g­ley Park and River­side Drive.

By the end of this year the McGowan Gov­ern­ment ex­pects to have com­pleted an au­dit of Perth’s sports in­fra­struc­ture, to de­ter­mine what up­grades would be needed to stage the 11-day, 18-sport spec­ta­cle, as well as other ma­jor events such as the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships.

“The visit pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for the CGF to see first-hand the range and qual­ity of the venues avail­able in West­ern Aus­tralia, which would be ide­ally suited to host­ing a Com­mon­wealth Games with many of the venues lo­cated in close prox­im­ity to the cen­tre of Perth,” Mr Grevem­berg said yes­ter­day.

“The Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion and Com­mon­wealth Games Aus­tralia took the op­por­tu­nity to visit Perth whilst they were in Aus­tralia, to talk about the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the Com­mon­wealth Games move­ment and to ex­plain how the CGF is part­ner­ing with cities and gov­ern­ments to de­liver the Games more ef­fi­ciently with a strong fo­cus on op­ti­mis­ing the legacy ben­e­fits for hosts.”

The Com­mon­wealth Games was last held in Perth in 1962 at the now de­funct Perry Lakes Sta­dium. The next Games will be in Birm­ing­ham, Eng­land, in 2022.

The host city for 2026 is ex­pected to be an­nounced in Septem­ber next year.

Ade­laide, West­ern Syd­ney, Ed­mon­ton in Canada and Auck­land in New Zealand have been linked to pos­si­ble bids.

The McGowan Gov­ern­ment’s au­dit of Perth’s sports in­fra­struc­ture would in­form whether the State com­mis­sions a fea­si­bil­ity study into a fu­ture Com­mon­wealth Games.

“The State Gov­ern­ment is car­ry­ing out its own au­dit of the State’s sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties, to bet­ter un­der­stand what our ca­pac­ity is to hold sport­ing events, whether ma­jor events, of the many medium and smaller scale events held in cities around the world each year. We ex­pect the au­dit to be com­plete by year’s end,” Sport and Recre­ation Min­is­ter Mick Mur­ray said.

“In the fu­ture, if there is a chance to ap­ply to hold the Com­mon­wealth Games we want to know on hand how much it is go­ing to cost and you can work it back from there. If sud­denly the op­por­tu­nity comes up and we are not ready, we will miss that op­por­tu­nity.

“While the State Gov­ern­ment is not cur­rently in a fi­nan­cial po­si­tion to con­sider a bid for a fu­ture Com­mon­wealth Games, im­prov­ing our un­der­stand­ing of Perth’s strengths and weak­nesses in terms of our ca­pac­ity to hold ma­jor sport­ing events is valu­able, and we are pleased to add the Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion’s as­sess­ment to that body of work.

“I think we have to keep Perth on the radar (for a Com­mon­wealth Games) but it cer­tainly comes back to af­ford­abil­ity.”

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