Victoria 2026 closing event at Kardinia Park



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Geelong's Kardinia Park will get upgrade Image: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust

Geelong’s Kardinia Park (Australia) will host the closing ceremony for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

‘ABC News’ stated that the games are set to run from March 17th to March 29th in 2026 and will take place across multiple Victorian regional hubs in Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton, Geelong, and Gippsland.

The 36,000-capacity Kardinia Park is a sporting and entertainment venue located within Kardinia Park, South Geelong, in the Australian State of Victoria. The stadium, which is owned and operated by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, is the home ground of the Australian Football League (AFL) club Geelong Football Club and the A-League club Western United.

The 2026 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXIII Commonwealth Games and commonly known as Victoria 2026, is a multisport event for members of the Commonwealth scheduled to take place across four regional sites in the Australian State of Victoria: Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, and Gippsland. It is scheduled to take place from March 17th to March 29th, 2026.

The Deputy Premier of Victoria, Jacinta Allan, said of the venue choice, “This is the best sporting venue in regional Australia, so it really makes great sense to host the closing ceremony here.”

‘ABC News’ further stated that the Geelong suburb of Waurn Ponds will play host to the athletes’ village, securing $292 million in infrastructure funding for the City.

Geelong is also set to host aquatics events such as swimming, para-swimming and diving in a purpose-built facility in the suburb of Armstrong Creek (City in Australia).

The region will also play host to events such as coastal rowing, weightlifting, golf, and women’s T20 cricket.
 

Lasting Impression

Allan said the benefits of the hundreds of millions in funding would continue for years to come.

The purpose-built venues will be converted into community facilities and affordable housing following the 2026 Games to alleviate shortages in the rapidly growing suburb of Waurn Ponds.

Added Allan, “Given housing is a bit of a pressure point in many parts of regional Victoria now, and will be into the future. This is a lasting legacy that will be left for many decades following the exciting competition phase of the Commonwealth Games.”

It is expected that the State Government will provide the majority of the funding for the event.

Commonwealth Games chief Craig Phillips said in February, “I would think that the State Government will do the heavy lifting on funding the games.”

The recent Commonwealth Games have been mired in financial controversy.

The 2010 Delhi (India) Games cost a reported $15 billion and was marred by a corruption scandal, while the 2022 hosting rights were stripped from Durban in South Africa by the Commonwealth Games Federation due to financial constraints.

The eventual 2022 games in Birmingham cost the United Kingdom Government £778 million [$1.409 billion] of public funding.

The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, called it a “fantastic” opportunity for regional Victoria, spruiking the closing ceremony’s venue as “Labor’s stadium”.

Added Andrews, “When you think of Kardinia Park … Labor’s stadium, we built every stage of that, it is just an amazing facility. The best stadium in regional Australia. We get a chance – a once in a generation chance – not just to re-run the 2006 games but to do something very different.”

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the coalition was supportive of the event, but called for more focus to be put on regional Victoria – “If this is a Commonwealth Games for regional Victoria, then the biggest stadium outside of Melbourne, which is in Geelong, should be used for the opening and closing ceremonies.”

The opening ceremony is currently due to be held on March 17th, 2026 at the 100,024-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground in East Melbourne, Australia.

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