By Tom Degun

Gold Coast 2018 logoFebruary 19 - Gold Coast 2018 chief executive Mark Peters has dismissed reports that the budget for the Commonwealth Games has spiralled upwards since Australian city was awarded the event in November 2011.

Reports in the Gold Coast Bulletin claimed that the cost of staging the 2018 Commonwealth Games has now increased to $2.4 billion (£1.5 billion/€1.9 billion), in a development that will leave Queenslanders with a debt of at least $1.4 billion (£884 million/€1.1 billion).

But organisers say the figures have actually been on the public record for some time and were submitted in their Bid Book to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) in 2011

"There have been no changes to the budget detailed in the Gold Cost City 2018 Candidate City File presented to the CGF in 2011," said Peters.

"When the projected Commonwealth Games revenue including the Games Village income is taken into consideration, the benefit of conducting the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games far outweighs the cost with an estimated $2 billion (£1.31 billion/€1.65 billion) benefit and generation of thousands of jobs in the city."

Australia's Minister for the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey has also dismissed the reports.

"The Bid Book figure is in 2011 dollars as required by the Commonwealth Games Federation, and with normal escalation figures and contingencies it takes the figure to $2.4 billion (£1.5 billion/€1.9 billion) for the cost of the Games without any revenue," she said.

"I am in the final stages of discussions to determine a Gold Coast City Council cash and in-kind contribution, and we will be seeking a commitment for similar contributions from the Federal Government.

"I am very confident we have a highly experienced Board who will deliver the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on time and on budget."

jann-stuckeyAustralia’s Minister for the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey claims preparations for Gold Coast 2018 are on time and on budget

Stuckey has also claimed that preparations remain well on track at present.

"Development of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Village is officially underway with the Parklands site declared as a Priority Development Area (PDA) by the State Government earlier this month," she said.

"I have finalised discussions with the Deputy Premier on the establishment of the Commonwealth Games Infrastructure Authority.

"The Gold Coast 2018 Board unanimously recommended Parklands at Southport as the Games Athletes' Village site.

"The Commonwealth Games will see the bringing forward and upgrading of a number of key facilities on the Gold Coast and the development of the Commonwealth Games Village, located adjacent to the Gold Coast University Hospital and Griffith University will underpin the long term development of the Health and Knowledge precinct.

"The permanent components of the Games Village will form the key residential, commercial and retail component of the Health and Knowledge precinct and contribute to the diversification of the city's economy."

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