CGF issues glowing report for Gold Coast’s Commonwealth Games efforts

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) has praised the Gold Coast’s preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, with development for the multi-sport event in Australia said to be ahead of schedule and under budget.

The CGF concluded its fourth Coordination Commission meeting on Friday, after a week offering support and monitoring progress. A number of venues have been deemed to be ready to host international sporting events by 2017, with sponsorship also said to be ahead of where Glasgow organisers were at a similar point two years out from the 2014 Games, with Griffith University and Echo Entertainment already signed on as top-tier partners.

Coordination Commission chair and CGF vice-president, Bruce Robertson, said the progress had “really accelerated’’ since his last visit six months ago. Robertson has sat on the Coordination Commissions for six Commonwealth Games and stated the Gold Coast has the potential to host the best Games ever held. “This has been a little unique for me in the sense that you can already feel that this is going to be a fantastic success,’’ Robertson said, according to the Courier-Mail newspaper.

The CGF’s end-of-year visit came after the Queensland government in April moved to take decisive control of preparations for the staging of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones was installed to head a new cabinet committee in response to a report from the Auditor General in December 2014 that criticised the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) for not having a single source of accountability or authority for overall management of the Games.

Andrew Greaves’ report blamed this apparent power vacuum for potential losses of A$1.25bn (€847.5m/$898.6m) to A$1.32bn in taxpayers funds through outsourcing construction work and drew parallels with the management problems that dogged the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Robertson said he accepted there had been initial problems but added those were not unusual for any Games organising committee. “At that point in time there were some legitimate points raised,’’ he said. “Those were legitimate points at that point in time but where we are right now I don’t think those points are necessarily relevant. I am confident all those points have been dealt with.’’

GOLDOC chairman Nigel Chamier also gave preparations a “10 out of 10’’. “It is so reassuring that by this time next year all of our new venues will be complete so throughout 2017 we will have an opportunity to trail all our venues and smooth out any issues that may occur,’’ he said. “I don’t think we could have done any better. I can also assure you we are under budget.’’

Robertson added in a CGF statement: “We have seen an impressive increase in the pace and thoroughness of the cross-partner preparations for the XXI Commonwealth Games. I have no doubt that Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia will deliver a great Games; all the building blocks are in place. The thrilling challenge now, which I know the Games partners welcome, is to seek out opportunities to deliver even further benefits for local communities.”