A masterplan on how to make the most of Victoria 2026 has been published ©RCV

A masterplan on how the entire region can benefit from the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games has been released by local leaders in the Australian state.

Regional Cities Victoria (RCV) has published "The Winning Formula" and has called for its suggested measures to be implemented in time for the Games in three years' time.

RCV, a leadership group which includes the 10 largest regional cities in Victoria, wants a lasting legacy from the Games that benefits everywhere and not just the places hosting Commonwealth events.

The first "regional" edition of the Games is due to see sport across the state, in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Gippsland and Shepparton.

"This is the time for regional Victoria to shine on the world stage and we must ensure that we build on this exposure, maintaining momentum as we showcase our amazing regional cities and get long-term value out of the investment made through the Games," said RCV chair Andrea Metcalf.

"It is a priority that First Peoples and Traditional Owners are engaged in all aspects of the Games delivery and ensure they reflect Victoria's rich cultural history.

"With the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund discontinued in the 2023-2024 Victorian Budget, our regional cities need assurance from the Government that they will invest in our regions to ensure they continue to be great places to live, work and visit."

The Winning Formula explores six key areas including pre-Games opportunities for hosting and training.

This could include training bases and accommodation for the countries and territories competing at Victoria 2026.

Another area is infrastructure where the plan calls for AUD$2 million (£1 million/$1.3 million/€1.2 million) for each city to carry out repairs and upgrade sporting facilities.

All Games equipment should be donated to local organisations, it is suggested, while RCV has also called for a AUD$30 million (£16 million/$20 million/$18 million) fund for new parkland and existing open spaces.

Ballarat is one of the regional cities due to host events at Victoria 2026 ©Getty Images
Ballarat is one of the regional cities due to host events at Victoria 2026 ©Getty Images

The cultural experiences area calls on the Victorian Government to sponsor free cultural activities and events across the region, while the people area says a Commonwealth Games Regional Volunteer Programme should be established.

This would provide training, pre-employment qualifications and accommodation for 16 to 21-year-olds to volunteer at the Games.

It is also suggested that a Victoria skills authority liaison officer be based in each regional city for at least three years.

The business procurement area says that every procurement opportunity created by the Games should be awarded to a local company, with priority given to First Nations people.

For the tourism and visitor economy area, RCV has called for AUD$30 million investment for a promotion campaign.

Regional tourism packages could be bought when people buy their Games tickets, the plan says, while another call is for the Baton Relay to visit every regional city.

The Baton itself should be designed by a local indigenous artist, RCV said.

RCV does not include Melbourne - the capital of Victoria and the state's major population hub.

It covers Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.

This area is home to more than 1.5 million people. 

The Winning Formula can be read here.