‘The Greater Victoria’ bid concept will be announced Thursday at the iconic Victoria Park Lake in central Shepparton attended by Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Dinny Adem, Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed, Victorian sporting legend John Steffensen, and other members of a newly formed bid working group including chair Adem Karafili, deputy Chair Nick Holland and Heloise Pratt AM.
“What we are unveiling today is a ‘first of its kind’ vision – the “People’s Games” - and what we believe could form the blueprint for future major sporting events given the cost required and infrastructure needed to hold global competitions like the Commonwealth Games,” declared Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor Dinny Adem.
“Importantly, staging a ground-breaking concept such as this across regional cities and towns will leave a legacy for millions of people like we have never seen before. The economic and social impact will be so significant, not to mention the wave of optimism that would sweep the state,” suggested Mayor Adem.
“For us, Greater Shepparton with our rich multicultural mix is truly representative of what the Commonwealth Games is all about. Thirteen per cent of our population are born overseas and we’re home to the largest Aboriginal community outside of Melbourne, just as the Commonwealth Games is representative of many faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions”, contends Mayor Adem.
As Melbourne did in 2006, the Greater Shepparton Council has appointed a Goodwill Partner should our vision for the 2030 “People’s Games” be successful.
Co-founded by young Victorian and former Young Australian of the Year Hugh Evans, international advocacy organisation Global Citizen aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
Regional Victoria has already staged many international sporting events and a standalone Commonwealth Games would be a further step forward and reinforcing Victoria as Australia’s premier sporting state and bringing sport to the people.
As part of the initial concept it is proposed that the venues for the ten compulsory Commonwealth Games events could be (PROPOSED ONLY):
- Aquatics including Para-Swimming Events – Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure Centre
- Athletics including Para-Athletic Events – Shepparton Sports Precinct at a new stadium
- Badminton – Ballarat Badminton Centre
- Boxing – Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and Entertainment Complex - Traralgon
- Hockey – Geelong Stead Park Hockey Centre
- Lawn Bowls including Para-Lawn Bowls – Shepparton Park Bowls Club
- Netball – Ballarat Sports and Events Centre
- Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s – Skilled Stadium – Geelong
- Squash – Shepparton Sports Stadium
- Weightlifting and Para-Powerlifting – Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and Entertainment Complex - Traralgon
While preliminary ideas for venues of optional Commonwealth Games events may include (PROPOSED ONLY):
- Men’s Basketball – Shepparton Sports Stadium
- Women’s Basketball – Bendigo Stadium
- Road Cycling at the Warrnambool/Port Campbell, Mountain Bike Cycling at Mount Buller and Track Cycling at Bendigo’s Tom Flood Centre
- Diving – Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure Centre
- Gymnastics – Geelong Convention Centre
- Rowing – Lake Nagambie
- Sailing – Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga
- Tennis – Wodonga Lawn Tennis Centre
- Triathlon – Victoria Park Lake - Shepparton
As part of the bid concept, Greater Shepparton City Council is proposing up to three test events for the 2030 Commonwealth Games – Cricket, Softball and/or Beach Volleyball in Mildura and BMX in Shepparton, with Greater Shepparton Council currently bidding for the BMX World Cup.
“Under this top-line schedule, we envisage that the focus for proposed competition venues will be on significant upgrades to existing infrastructure to ensure Commonwealth Games regulations are met rather than building brand new facilities across the board at large expense,” said Mayor Adem.
“Naturally, we do envisage that some temporary infrastructure will be required to house athletes and Games activities as part of a satellite approach.”
“The legacy of such upgrades is that regional cities and towns would be in a prime position to successfully bid for future national and international events for years to come. This means ongoing investment and benefits into local economies for decades,” suggests Mayor Adem.
Formal approaches have already been made with the Victorian Premier The Hon Daniel Andrews MP and Victorian Minister for Sport, and Tourism and Major Events The Hon John Eren, along with the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull MP and new Federal Sports Minister and Victorian MP Greg Hunt.
“Naturally this idea won’t even get off the ground without very significant support across all levels of Government and the private sector. Parties of all political persuasions have been talking for years about the importance of delivering jobs and investment strategies for regional areas and this ambitious but very real proposal will deliver on many, many fronts and for many, many years. No one does major events, particularly major sporting events, better than Victorians,” suggests Mayor Adem said.
A delegation has asked to meet with the Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth Games Association Craig Phillips later this month to indicate interest at exploring the bid process. There will be continuing dialogue with him by the appointed stage one working group.
All relevant Municipal Mayors responsible for the preliminary ideas for competition venues have been contacted directly and have been asked to attend a workshop, along with their Chief Executive Officers, in Shepparton on Friday April 28.
A thirteen-member 2030 bid ‘taskforce’ has been appointed to commence stage one of the work in exploring the possibility of a regional bid.
Chaired by former Swisse Wellness Managing Director Adem Karafili, other committee members include deputy Chair Nick Holland, Heloise Pratt AM, Peter Crinis, Radek Sali, Mitch Catlin, Andrew Ryan, Leon Spellson, The Hon Jeanette Powell, Margaret Zita, Lauren Jackson AO and John Steffensen and the Shepparton Mayor Dinny Adem.
Bid committee chair Adem Karafili is thrilled to be leading the team. “It is such an honour to be working with so many talented people on trying to bring this dream alive. There is no doubt that this idea has very strong foundations and it is the job of the committee to ensure we can take this to the next step,” said Mr Karafili.
“I still have many family members living in the Shepparton region so this project has a real personal connection for me,” he said.
‘Terms of reference’ have been drawn up by the Greater Shepparton City Council which will form the centrepiece for the work that the bid committee must undertake, with the committee due to hand down its preliminary report on 30 June with the final report due two weeks later.
Australian Sporting legend Lauren Jackson is fully behind the innovative campaign.
“I live in Bellbridge which is close to Wodonga and the impact an event like this would on our town and across the state is actually hard to imagine. It will literally be a game-changer for millions of people and I really hope our dream becomes a reality,” she said.
Former runner and current Athletics Australia board member John Steffensen agrees.
“It’s such an honour to be involved in this process. We have seen how Nitro in Melbourne revolutionized athletics globally, and I strongly believe a regional Commonwealth Games in my home State will be unparalleled in its transformation of major sporting events,” said Steffensen.
The taskforce will meet for the first time today in Shepparton and again prior to the April 28 workshop with the regional Mayors and CEOs.
“We have seen already the pressure that Durban was under in withdrawing from hosting the 2022 games, and we believe our concept has merit in sharing both the costs, and more importantly the benefits, in the delivery of the Commonwealth Games. With our decentralised model, the entire state of Victoria wins!” said Mayor Adem.
“We are under no illusions there will be challenges for a Greater Victoria Commonwealth Games bid, including accommodation and security, but we all understand that and we have to give it a go. Nothing happens by just sitting still and dreaming and no bid for any major sporting event has everything on a platter, but addressing these challenges, and coming up with solutions and outcomes will naturally be one of the major focuses of the 2030 bid working group,” he said.
“We now have approximately 3,000 days until we are required to formally lodge a bid. Let the hard work and ultimately the massive success for regional Victoria begin today,” said Councillor Adem.