Row to Nagambie for 2026 Games


May 11, 2022

Tania MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (17:45): (1908)

My adjournment is to the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events (Hon. Martin Pakula MP), and the action I seek is for the government to expand the list of Commonwealth Games sports across regional Victoria and designate Lake Nagambie to host rowing for the 2026 games.

Northern Victoria covers more than 100,500 square kilometres, around half of the state. There are 27 local government areas in my electorate, and yet only one of those, Bendigo, has been earmarked so far as a venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. While the multi-city model is worthy of credit, much of my electorate has been overlooked to date.

A program of 16 core sports and four para sports have so far been agreed between the State of Victoria, the Commonwealth Games Federation and Commonwealth Games Australia. Typically there are 17 or 18 sports competed at the games, so I am hoping there is room for a couple of additions.

When the City of Greater Shepparton conceived a regional games concept back in 2017, it presented a vision of a regional cities model that included 11 cities. As well as the four already announced by the Premier (Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and a hub in Gippsland), the 11 included Shepparton, Mount Buller, Yarrawonga, Wodonga and Nagambie in my electorate.

The two-kilometre rowing course in Strathbogie shire is an example of an existing location ripe for the opportunity that the Commonwealth Games could present.

Lake Nagambie is the only 2km rowing course in regional Victoria. Last month the Australian Rowing Championships were relocated to this course with only eight days’ notice after the devastating floods in New South Wales. Around 2000 athletes competed, and Strathbogie shire and Lake Nagambie showcased themselves with high honours.

Strathbogie shire is a great tourism destination with fabulous food and wine offerings, well-established agriculture and equine industries, beautiful landscapes and wonderful potential. The mayor and council of Strathbogie have reached out to me for help to ask the government to consider flat-water rowing as an additional 2026 Commonwealth Games sport and to nominate Lake Nagambie as the location to host this event.

Rowing was part of the Commonwealth Games sporting program from 1938 until 1962*, when it was classified as an optional sport for the Commonwealth Games. Rowing is a popular sport in Australia—60,000 people participate, including more than 185 schools and 165 clubs. This is an absolute no-brainer for the government, and I know Nagambie and the Strathbogie shire would do Victoria proud in hosting a great rowing event.

I look forward to the government’s positive response, and I hope to see Strathbogie’s name on the list.

* Rowing returned for the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. It has since remained optional for host organisers.