Protesters slam repco rally review

ANTI-RALLY groups have slammed an independent report card of the 2009 Repco Rally that gives last year’s event a big thumbs up.

The review, commissioned by the Homebush Motor Racing Authority, has concluded that despite ‘zealous and enduring opposition to the rally by a tiny minority’ there is no reason for the rally not to go ahead in 2011.

However, Andrea Vickers, from the No Rally Group, has called the views expressed in the report a desperate attempt to represent opposition to the rally as marginal.

“Out of 256 submissions to the review, 190 of these were anti-rally,” she said.

The report, which was tabled in State Parliament the day before the Federal election, also found no evidence of any significant damage to the environment by the rally.

However, it did recommend any future route avoid environmentally sensitive areas, including Uki, Byrrill Creek and pristine habitats.

Authority chief executive Bryan Hardman said factors in the rally’s favour was that it generated about $16.9 million in new economic activity in the Northern Rivers region, with a total attendance and ticket sales of more than 86,000.

The results showed the event was well on track to delivering up to $100 million in direct economic benefit to the Northern Rivers region over its lifespan, which would continue through to 2017, he said.

But Ms Vickers said: “There’s more rubber in these figures than the rally chewed through when it was in town.”

She said No Rally Group members felt undue weight had been given to the opinions of those with financial interests in the rally going ahead – Rally Australia, Events NSW and the Tweed and Kyogle chambers of commerce.

Mr Hardman refused to be drawn on the No Rally Group’s claims. However, he conceded that in planning the 2009 event the authority had come up short on the crucial front of consulting with Aboriginal landowners.

“A lack of time and process meant that consultation with traditional owners represented by the board of directors of the Githabul Aboriginal National Corporation in 2009 was inadequate,” he said.

During the rally review consultation process, opposition was publicly expressed by a number of Aboriginal traditional landowners.

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