Para-Athletes Undermined, Communities Ignored – The Nationals Victoria
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Leader of The Nationals in the Senate
Senator for Victoria
Senator the Hon Anne Ruston
Shadow Minister for Health and Aged Care
Shadow Minister for Sport
Senator for South Australia
Senator the Hon Matthew Canavan
Chair of Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee
Senator for Queensland
14 September 2023
PARA-ATHLETES UNDERMINED, COMMUNITIES IGNORED
GAMES SENATE INQUIRY INTERIM REPORT
The Senate inquiry investigating Australia’s preparedness to host Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games handed down their interim report in the Senate today, revealing para-athletes’ pathway to Paris 2028 Olympics has been destroyed and local communities have been ignored by federal and state Labor governments.
Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie said it was clear that state and federal Labor governments had not meaningfully engaged with local communities.
Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie said it was clear that State and Federal Governments had thrown into doubt the planning, timeline and scope of infrastructure promised to Victorian communities.
“In Victoria, the missed opportunities of the Commonwealth Games have been devastating,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The inquiry heard from some incredibly brave witnesses in Victoria who gave evidence that the Andrews Labor Government had failed to ask them what infrastructure and planning their communities needed, with some stating they felt ignored by a city-centric Government.
“In Queensland, the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s Gabba Redevelopment has left the local community feeling left out of the decision making process and concerned for the future.
“The hosting of Commonwealth and Olympic Games must be for the Australian communities it represents, and not for the government of the day’s pet projects.”
Shadow Minister for Sport Senator Anne Ruston said the inquiry exposed the exceptional disadvantage that the cancellation of the 2026 Victorian Commonwealth Games has created for our athletes, and particularly our para-athletes.
“This Inquiry has been fundamental in providing athletes, sporting bodies and communities with a voice following the incredibly disappointing cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games,” Senator Ruston said.
“As the CEO of Paralympics Australia testified, the Commonwealth Games are critical for para-athletes to classify for other major international sporting events – You can’t be what you can’t see, and the cancellation of 2026 has created a significant missed opportunity to inspire and encourage Australians living with disability.
“Instead of standing up for our hardworking athletes and para-athletes, the Albanese Labor Government has stuck its head in the sand. It was astounding to hear that the Minister for Sport has not reached out to Commonwealth Games Australia, even following community momentum towards an Australian solution.”
Chair of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, Senator Matthew Canavan said Dan Andrews’ cancellation of the Commonwealth Games was not the Federal Government’s fault but with Australia’s reputation on the line the Australian Government should try to help fix it.
“It is shocking that we are seeing more proactivity from the Gold Coast Mayor than the Federal Government to try to find a solution. The least the Federal Government could do is meet with local and state governments and see what can be done,” Senator Canavan said.
“The Commonwealth Games is of special importance to Pacific Island nations so we should do everything we can to keep the Commonwealth Games in Australia. We should not die wondering on this.
“The Queensland Government needs to do a better job to bring local communities on side with the Games. It would not be a good outcome to have local communities protesting while the Games are on. We have 9 years to build a strong partnership with these communities so there should be no excuses not to make sure all Queenslanders support the Games.”
The report also found that the Victorian Government actively worked to hinder the inquiry and the engagement of other witnesses after the Government declined to participate.
The final report for the Inquiry is due on December 6, 2023.
A link to the interim report can be found here: