Parks may be part of rally route

THREE national parks - Wollumbin, Mooball and Richmond Range - have been identified as preferred routes by organisers of the Repco Rally, according to the scientist employed to conduct an environmental assessment of the rally, Dr Stephen Phillips.

The rally, which will be held in the Kyogle and Tweed shires in September, will see as many as 60 cars racing against the clock at high speeds on a dozen dirt roads throughout the region.

A number of environmental groups and residents have spoken against the rally, saying they were concerned about the event's impact on the environment.

A Department of Environment and Climate Change spokesperson said a number of informal meetings had been held between the department and organisers about the use of three national parks in Northern NSW, but as yet no formal approach had been made.

“The department supports regional tourism initiatives and recognises the broader social and economic benefits of regional events,” the spokesperson said.

“We also have a statutory responsibility to uphold the conservation and cultural values of our parks and reserves.”

Dr Phillips said he would be reviewing all of the environmental factors associated with the preferred routes.

“We will be looking at threatened species lists and their proximity to those roads and the impact on things like core koala habitat,” he said.

Pikapene and Cherry Tree Environment Centre treasurer Lesley-Anne Jacobson said she was stunned to hear the rally was intending to use roads within national parks.

Ms Jacobson said the group had been working to save endangered and threatened species in the Richmond Range for 12 years.

“I am disgusted,” she said.

“We have the highest level of biodiversity in New South Wales.”

Repco Rally media manager Chris Nixon said the rally was proposing to use roads which went through some national parks. The exact preferred routes would be announced this week.

Mr Nixon said the rally had been talking to the traditional owners of Wollumbin, the Githabul Nation, about the use of the park.

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