Koori carnival will get the go ahead

By ALEX EASTON ORGANISERS of NSW's biggest Aboriginal sports carnival say they are confident the event will go ahead, after Lismore City Council expressed support for the event.

The comments from the Merritt-Patten Redfern and Northern United rugby league football clubs came ahead of a motion at tonight's Lismore City Council meeting, aimed at making clear the council's support for the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival, and follow confirmation by general manager Paul O'Sullivan that council officers would work with the organisers to make sure the event happened.

The Northern Star reported on Saturday that Mr O'Sullivan had appointed a team of nine council staff to work with the organisers, police and other stakeholders 'to make sure this carnival is a success'.

That process steps up this morning with the first in a series of workshops between staff, organisers and stakeholders to hammer out issues surrounding the knockout.

Issues raised by councillors who initially voted against the carnival being held this year at a meeting last week included a shortage of accommodation and public transport in Lismore at the time of the carnival and concerns about safety after the after-game brawl that marred the recent Titans/Eels NRL clash in the city.

Grantley Kreighton, of Northern United RLFC, said he had not heard personally from the council, but was encouraged by the reports.

Mr Kreighton said he was 'more than happy' at the strong level of community support he had seen for the carnival. Organiser Phillip Hall said he had always been confident the carnival would be held in Lismore come the Labour Day weekend.

Mr Hall said he had planned to work through concerns with the individual councillors who raised them to make sure they were addressed to their satisfaction.

Details Mr Hall wanted worked out before the carnival, such as creating alcohol-free zones around Oakes and Crozier ovals, would ultimately work to the long-term benefit of Lismore, quite apart from the general benefits the carnival brought to the city.

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