Craig Phillips AM Budget Submission Statement


Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) CEO, Craig Phillips AM, has today published the below op-ed in support of the Pre-Budget Submission made to the Federal Government on behalf of the CGA and its member sports.

The Pre-Budget Submission calls upon the Federal Government to commit the necessary preparation funding for the twenty Victoria 2026 program sports through to December 2026.

It also calls for a $10 million per annum uplift in investment, echoing the clear precedent established by the Federal Coalition Government when they committed $15 million to boost athlete preparation ahead of Gold Coast 2018.


Australia’s success at Birmingham 2022 was not the product of luck or a fluke.  

It took years of preparation, certainty in funding and a broad commitment from the Federal Government and its’ agencies to invest in and support program sports and their athletes as they strived to win gold for Australia. 

The results speak for themselves.  

A finish atop the medal tally with 178 medals won, including: 67 gold, 57 silver and 54 bronze, and a win over our greatest rival England. 

The community benefit of the Commonwealth Games extends beyond the medal tally, too. 

A post-Games research paper published by the Australian Sports Commission confirms that 18 million Australians (more than 70 per cent of the population) watched, listened or read media coverage about the 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

Critically, 67% of these people reported that they saw something that made them proud or want to participate in sport. 

The 12-days of competition also topped the YouGov Global Sports Rankings, generating the most buzz of any sporting event in Australia last year eclipsing the FIFA World Cup, the Australian Open, the NRL State of Origin and the AFL Grand Final. 

It is safe to say that the Australian public has come to expect a certain level of success from its’ Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Teams.  

A sober analysis of our recent results, however, shows that these high-level performances are not sustainable under the Federal Government’s current investment level. 

For success to continue both on and off the field of play, a serious investment must be made. 

It is an uncontested truism that the success of a home Games is dependent upon the success of the home team. 

Do Victorians, or indeed Australians, want to see their hometown heroes edged out by an athlete wearing the red and white of England in three years time? 

We are confident they do not. 

There’s nothing worse than losing to our old rival and complacency is a sure-fire way to see Australia’s lead in total medals won whittled down to nothing more than a distant memory. 

Commonwealth Games Australia implores the Federal Government to commit the necessary preparation funding for the 20 program sports through to December 2026. 

We also call for a $10 million per annum uplift in preparation funding, echoing the clear precedent established by the Federal Coalition Government in committing $15 million to boost our athletes’ preparation as they readied themselves for competition on the Gold Coast. 

This is not a substantial ask. 

This pragmatic approach appropriately considers the national financial position, cost of living and other pressures experienced by Australians.  

We are not naïve enough to believe sport funding should take precedent over other critical investment, but we take confidence in the knowledge that team success is enthusiastically embraced by the overwhelming majority of Australians. 

An extension by 12 months accounts for just less than 0.04 per cent of the $105.8 billion forecast to be spent on health by the Federal Government this Financial Year.  

When weighed against the Federal Government’s own multiplier for return on investment in sport of $7 for every $1 spent, the question really becomes how can we afford not to make this investment. 

Victoria 2026 will also provide Victoria with a critical opportunity to introduce the picturesque and accessible regions to the world.  

It will deliver a legacy of affordable and social housing, improved infrastructure for thriving communities and thousands of jobs.  

The economic analysis shows the Games will contribute more than $3 billion to Victoria’s economy, creating 7,500 jobs, made up of almost 600 full-time equivalent jobs before the Games; 3,900 during the Games; and a further 3,000 beyond the Closing Ceremony.  

Let’s not jeopardise the unique opportunity by complacency and a failure to invest in the critical ingredient of any home Games – the Australian Team. 

By investing in the success of the Australian Team, we will achieve the one thing locals and visitors alike will remember – Victoria’s successful delivery of the first-ever regional Commonwealth Games led by an all conquering Australian Team. 

During the darkest days of the COVID pandemic, our green and gold athletes lifted the nation at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.  

They carried us forward again at Birmingham last year.  

Imagine what they can do for us in three years in our own backyard across Victoria. They don’t ask for much and they give us so much in return. 

Let’s make Victoria 2026 a signature success for athletes and spectators alike – an accelerator for the green and gold runway to 2032, not an embarrassing drubbing from the Poms. 


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