The XVIII Commonwealth Games hosted in Victoria in March 2006 were the biggest sporting and cultural event ever held in Victoria, with 5,700 athletes and officials taking part, 1.5 million tickets being sold, and 2 million spectators attending.
The Commonwealth Games Federation declared the Games the best ever, delivering improved world class infrastructure, lasting legacies and a positive economic impact. The former Department of Planning and Community Development played a major role in helping deliver these outcomes.
Improved world class infrastructure
New venues were built and a number of well-loved venues were upgraded. Highlights include:
- Showpiece development of the internationally recognised Melbourne Cricket Ground. Half of the stadium was rebuilt at the MCG and 55,000 new seats added.
- An outdoor, permanent-roofed competition pool was built at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
- A 6.4 kilometre bike course was built at the State Mountain Bike Course in Lysterfield Park.
- New pitch surfaces and an environmentally sustainable watering system were installed at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
- A new lawn bowls facility was built at the State Lawn Bowls Centre.
- Improved shooting sports and basketball facilities in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
The Victorian Government has given over $1.7 million of sporting equipment used during the Commonwealth Games to over 260 Victorian clubs and associations. This equipment ranges from shuttle cocks, javelins, table tennis tables, to basketball rings and weightlifting equipment.
Victoria's largest event was also delivered $50 million under budget. Some $26 million of that savings was invested back in to Victorian sport through the Commonwealth Games Dividend Initiatives.
The Commonwealth Games also set new benchmarks in the environmental planning and running of international major events, achieving the objectives of being a low waste, carbon neutral and water wise event. Over one million trees were planted to offset carbon emissions associated with the event.
Positive economic impact
An independent study in October 2006 showed that direct Games expenditure, tourism, construction and other commercial activity generated by the Games positively impacted on Gross State Product by $1.6 billion.
The higher than expected economic return was largely due to the higher number of international tourists. More than 100,000 tourists visited Victoria for the Games, and spent an estimated $270 million.
The study also revealed that almost 13,600 full time equivalent jobs will be created from the Games. Some 264 apprentices were employed to help build Games venues.
A Triple Bottom Line Assessment of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games by Insight Economics, was commissioned by the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination. In making an overall evaluation of the event, it draws substantially on separate assessments undertaken by other consultants of the net economic, social and environmental impacts of the games.