Dan Andrews, State Premier for Victoria, Australia.
Worth noting upfront that this is the politician that locked down his citizens for longer than anyone else nationwide. Which is saying something for a country that was almost as 'zero covid' as its crazed neighbour.
Here's the news bulletin blanketing soundbite from this week's stunning press conference announcement, cancelling his commitment to the 2026 Commonwealth Games;
"Look, I've made a lot of difficult calls, lot of very difficult decisions in this job. This is not one of them. Frankly 6 or 7 billion dollars for a 12 day sporting event, we are not doing that. That does not represent value for money. That is all cost, and no benefit."
Supposedly also in the light of projected costs three years out having nearly tripled from original estimates. Here's one analysis; 'the reason behind the shock decision is down to the state's money woes, with Victoria's debt forecast to be $135.4billion in 2024, rising to $171.4billion by 2026-27'. A position many attribute to the man making this call.
So Melbourne, despite only set to host the Opening Ceremony, will be seen to follow Durban, stripped of hosting five-and-a-half years ahead of time. And among it's many frightening degradations, look at the state of the latter's beachfront decay today. Does either merit your precious tourist dollar now?
All leaving the 2026 Commonwealth Games as second in a row with organisers hunting last-minute for a new venue. Will Birmingham prove to be the last?
Such a shame, especially given Melbourne holds a special place in my heart.
Let's try moving on from Dan's desire concerning roughly four percent of his debt pile.
The first official assessment of Birmingham's benefits will be published on its one-year anniversary. In the meantime, we have an interim report. This details - note it, Dan - the standalone twelve days alone, without legacy, impact of the event itself.
This they term GVA; Gross Value Added.
The figures are already startling.
Public funding was adjudged to be £778m.
When you subtract money that they view as would have been spent anyway, the 'net GVA' identified at the time of the event itself adds up to £767m.
Here's their stacked barchart breakdown, with rising waterfall style.
There is a slight loss, representing 1.4% of funds, which will surely turn a profit when longer-term measurements roll in.
[update: Dr Matthew Lyons, regional economist at the University of Birmingham, duly later announced research of the impact of the Birmingham 2022 Games to be "a great deal for the city itself" with a net profit of £100m]
These include later dividends attributed to The Games from the likes of; skills uplift, business growth and investment, economic growth, neighbourhood regeneration.
And by the way, build too on the fifteen thousand jobs provided by the event itself.
Let us not ignore London's vaunted 'Friendly Games'. These are said to have broken even too. 2012's £10bn Olympic costs now safely outstripped (and still reaping returns a decade on).
Where 1976 Montreal faced bankruptcy, 1984 Los Angeles went full Hollywood sponsorship to pay the bills.
Since, places concerned with opinions of an electorate usually seek to avoid the financial perils of hosting a major sporting event.
Where the CCP wantonly threw money at global Beijing events, and S Africa never came close to washing its 2010 face, with one mastermind behind it now facing multiple charges of corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement as a result, vanity exposure is better replaced by co-ordinating existing infrastructure with projected upgrades.
Melbourne now misses the boat in many such ways. Becoming bracketed with incompetent and oppressive regimes, rather than cities moving ahead with aspiration. Already Perth looks to make hay with what it's got in place as of now. Well done, Dan.
As this "international embarrassment" remains fresh in the mind, the selling call is to cite the punchline with prospects, and run that consequent conversation race for gold of your own;
"so, is this all cost and no benefit..?"