So much for a traditional honeymoon period for new Premier Jacinta Allan.
Truth is, the honeymoon never started. Only two weeks into her term, she is grappling with the ongoing nightmare that is the Commonwealth Games debacle.
Allan refused to front an inquiry into the Games cancellation, even though she was the Minister responsible for delivering the much-vaunted regional event.
It has become a common theme, as Allan also dodged questions under heavy fire in Parliament last week. Everybody in regional Victoria deserves answers, not arrogant stone-walling.
Alarmingly, it is now becoming clear Allan and others knew far more about Games costs blow-outs than they let on.
There were revelations in The Age on Monday that Allan was warned four months before the pin was officially pulled on the Games that almost $2 billion extra would be required to host the event in five regional cities throughout Victoria.
Yet we were strung along, and told everything was going swimmingly. In the end, it was a hoax.
As a regional MP, and a Bendigo resident, you’d expect her to champion regional cities. Instead, she snubbed them, cruelly taking them along for a ride that was never going to have a happy ending.
The cost of cancelling the Games has now blown out to beyond $500 million – and watch that figure rise.
New analysis of figures provided to the Victorian Parliament’s Select Committee probing the Games disaster confirms at least $533 million has been wasted so far. The damning breakdown of numbers includes $380 million on cancellation cost, $43 million in operating grants, more than $21 million on athlete villages and more than $6 million on Victoria Police security initiatives.
What a waste.
Allan should have fronted the inquiry this week. It’s the least she could do. But we will keep the questions coming.
There is no honeymoon, and no way out of this nightmare for Allan.
Peter Walsh MP
Leader of The Nationals