Should Parramatta Host the Commonwealth Games?

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Opposition leader, Luke Foley recommends Western Sydney should push to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games "because it would force transport and affordable housing to be prioritised".

Craig Phillips, head of Commonwealth Games Australia, wrote to all premiers last week asking for expressions of interest to host the games in 2026 or 2030.

“Our understanding is that Canada has expressed interest in 2030 so we believe there may be a window for Australia in 2026,” Mr Phillips said.

uke Foley responded by identifying Western Sydney as the frontrunner for NSW. “The Sydney Olympics showed that NSW works well to a deadline and this would be the ideal deadline to work towards.”. 

Mr Foley said 2026 would coincide with the planned opening of Sydney’s new airport at Badgerys Creek and would speed up the north south rail link, which will initially link St Marys to Western Sydney Airport.

It could also fast-track the metro rail line from Parramatta to the CBD, Mr Foley said.

“We will also need a new athletes village, and whether that be at Olympic Park or Camellia or we modernise and renew a housing estate in Mount Druitt, it would provide an opportunity for affordable housing,” Mr Foley said.

The chairman of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Peter Beattie, said hosting the games in western Sydney was "an obvious choice".

Mr Beattie, said western Sydney had the sporting infrastructure to support a Commonwealth Games but it would also prove a huge boost to the region.

“The great legacy of the Gold Coast games will definitely be the transport links that were prioritised for the games,” Mr Beattie said.

“The thing with something like the Commonwealth Games is that it motivates governments, it motivates oppositions, bureaucrats and it motivates corporate Australia.”

Mr Beattie said transport upgrades on the Gold Coast, which included a $440 million extension of the light rail network, would have been years away had it not been for the Commonwealth Games.

Mr Foley said the state government could not afford to delay any plans to bid.

“My criticism is that we have heard nothing from the government for about a year now about the Commonwealth Games and the bidding process needs to get underway,” Mr Foley said.

Mr Foley said he would give his bipartisan support to hosting the games, but the government needed to get moving with the process.

A spokeswoman for the government said: "The NSW Government is considering correspondence from the Commonwealth Games Federation, that we understand has been sent to multiple state governments, and will respond in due course."

Mr Foley said he had spoken about a western Sydney bid with Mr Phillips.

“It needs to be well underway by the end of this year but if I become premier in March next year, it will be too late, we will have missed our chance," Mr Foley said.

Shaz Jones