Layla Gain-Hill with residents of Barkers Vale and Wadevale who are concerned the Repco Rally with endanger Hanging Rock Creek.
Layla Gain-Hill with residents of Barkers Vale and Wadevale who are concerned the Repco Rally with endanger Hanging Rock Creek. Northern Star/Mel McMillan

Late bid to stop Repco Rally

AN APPLICATION for an injunction to prevent the World Championship Repco Rally from going ahead is expected to be lodged with the Federal Court today in a last-minute attempt to stop the controversial road event.

Rally opponents yesterday said they were hoping the court would grant an application as soon as Wednesday. The rally is due to run in the Tweed and Kyogle shires from September 3 to 6.

A representative of a group opposed to the rally remained tight-lipped about details yesterday, but confirmed a Sydney-based Senior Counsel had been appointed and would argue the rally should be stopped because it was in breach of the Environmental Protection and Biological Conservation Act.

However, Rally Australia board chairman Alan Evans yesterday dismissed the last-ditch court move as 'guerrilla tactics' after he was told about the action by The Northern Star.

He accused the opponents of trying to 'spoil the party'.

“This is an action by a small number of dissidents, the vast majority of people support the rally,” Mr Evans said.

As opponents head to the Federal Court, Repco Rally chairman Garry Connelly may also face defamation action.

Ecologist Mark Graham is claiming Mr Connelly defamed him in comments made to the media last week.

Mr Graham is one of two ecologists, the other is Dr Stephen Ambrose, who have conducted reviews of the report commissioned by the rally to look into the event's environmental impact.

The report, completed by Uki-based Biolink, was criticised by both men because, in their view, it was not comprehensive enough.

Mr Connelly responded to their criticisms by saying the reviews were 'unsupported and poorly informed'.

These comments, Mr Graham claimed, had damaged his professional reputation.

Mr Graham, who has worked for National Parks and Wildlife, the Department of Water and Land Conservation and as a private consultant, said he cherished his professional reputation.

Mr Graham said he had been advised by three lawyers that Mr Connelly's comments were defamatory.

Mr Connelly yesterday declined to comment on the possible defamation action. However, Mr Evans said the rally stood by the environmental impact report.

“We will make sure we run the most environmentally sensitive rally in the world,” Mr Evans said.


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