AUD$2.6 billion has been budgeted for rural Victoria in preparation for the 2026 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

Victoria is set to receive AUD$2.6 billion (£1.4 billion/$1.8 billion/€1.7 billion) of Government funding in preparation for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The funding was revealed in today's state budget alongside a further AUD$111 million (£62 million/$78 million/€74 million) for tourism and support events.

The investment is part of a AUD$5.7 billion (£3.2 billion/$4 billion/€3.8 billion) commitment set aside for Victoria in the budget.

Hubs are set to be established in Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland for the Games, with the Government hopeful that the newly created sports infrastructure and housing will leave a legacy for residents in the future.

The regional hubs will host athletes, officials and fans following an Opening Ceremony at Melbourne Cricket Ground, with Melbourne the gateway to more rural places in Victoria.

The State Government is predicting the creation of around 600 jobs before the Games in Australia, with 3,900 more during and 3,000 afterwards.

Regional Development Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has predicted that the multi-sport event will contribute more than AUD$3 billion (£1.6 billion/$2.1 billion/€2 billion) to the Victorian economy.

Regional hubs are due to be established in Geelong, pictured, as well as Bendingo, Ballarat and Gippsland ©Visit Victoria
Regional hubs are due to be established in Geelong, pictured, as well as Bendingo, Ballarat and Gippsland ©Visit Victoria

"The Games will deliver more housing and other legacy infrastructure that will really boost regional and rural Victoria for decades to come," said Thomas.

The budget revealed that planning for competition venues is underway, with the Victorian Government eager to make use of existing facilities where possible to minimise costs.

"The Government is currently undertaking further scoping and due diligence of the proposed competition venues," the budget papers read.

"Additional sports and competition venues in regional Victoria, outside of the four hubs, are under consideration."

Just AUD$36 million (£20 million/$25 million/€24 million) is budgeted for this year, while AUD$222.6 million (£126 million/$157 million/€150 million) has been set aside for 2022-2023.

AUD$467.1 million (£264 million/$331 million/€315 million) has been allocated for 2023-2024, AUD$705.7 million (£399 million/$500 million/€476 million) for 2024-2025 and AUD$1.146 billion (£649 million/$813 million/€774 million) for 2025-2026.

Victoria 2026 is likely to take place in March to avoid clashing with the Australian Football League season.

The Australian state was awarded the Games last month following a successful exclusive dialogue period with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF).

It has a shorter timeframe to prepare as, under the original timetable published, the host city for 2026 was due to be chosen at the 2019 CGF General Assembly in Kigali in Rwanda.