Victorian Government Spent Over $1 Million On Lawyers For Commonwealth Games Cancellation

Newly released documents have shed light on the substantial legal costs incurred by the Victorian government in its negotiations to cancel the 2026 Commonwealth Games, weeks before the official announcement. 

Taxpayers face a hefty bill of more than $1.2 million for legal services provided by Melbourne-based law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler

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According to ABC, he government approached these lawyers in June 2023 to handle the withdrawal from hosting the event.

However, the public announcement of the cancellation didn’t come until at least three weeks later, on July 18, during then-Premier Daniel Andrews’ snap press conference. 

During this period, the legal team from Arnold Bloch Leibler travelled to London to negotiate a compensation deal, and their work for the government extended until September.

These legal expenses come on top of the $380 million in compensation that Victoria had to pay after a settlement was reached for the cancellation. 

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Documents also show that the Commonwealth Games Federation in London and Commonwealth Games Australia were given just eight hours’ notice before the state government announced on July 18. 

Opposition Leader John Pesutto accused the Labor government of “torching” taxpayer money and called for an inquiry into the Commonwealth Games debacle. 

“This is further evidence of how Labor has torched taxpayers’ money and another reason why Jacinta Allan needs to appear before the parliamentary inquiry and explain her role in the Commonwealth Games debacle.”

A parliamentary inquiry is set to begin this month in Victoria to investigate the government’s decision to cancel the games. 

However, it’s important to note that the upper house inquiry cannot force lower house MPs, including the new Premier Jacinta Allan, to provide evidence.

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