Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest.

Amendment not Geoff's: George

LISMORE MP Thomas George's nose has been put out of joint after his Nationals colleague, Tweed MP Geoff Provest claimed changes to the World Championship Rally bill were the “Provest Amendment”.

The New South Wales Legislative Council passed the Motor Sports Bill 2009 on Tuesday night which contained the amendment stating a formal review of Repco Rally Australia would be undertaken following its first year.

Local councils lost control of the Tweed leg of the World Rally Championships when the Government decided to draft the bill.

Mr Provest's media release yesterday morning said “his” changes to the Bill would compel the State Development Minister, Ian MacDonald to conduct the review following the event, thus ensuring local communities and councils had influence on future events.

Mr George was quick to call out Provest on his claim, saying the amendment was the work of a team, not one man. He said Provest was now spruiking an amendment to a Bill he said he would cross the floor to vote against.

“Let me tell you, we organised a meeting together to see the minister, and it just goes to show that with teamwork we can achieve success,” Mr George said.

“The Nationals amendment got up in the house with the support of the Government. The councils made it quite clear to us they needed this, and it shows that if you work properly in the system you can achieve.

“We had to have protection there for the community and the councils and this has been achieved with the co-operation of the Government.”

“It is not called the Provest Amendment.”

Mr Provest said it was a team effort, but he orchestrated with the minister's office the final wording of the amendment.

“It was a team effort, and we got what we were fighting for; now the local people will have a say in the rally's future.”

He said locals would be able to play an active role in the review of the event, and any submission that was made to the government.

And the Tweed MP explained his change of heart in voting for the Bill.

“This was never about supporting or opposing the rally, it has always been about ensuring the Tweed is involved in the decisions that affect local people.

“My initial intention was to vote against the Bill. However under that scenario it still would have become law and permanently excluded the Tweed from influencing the rally's future.”

“The important thing to remember is I am representing an individual electorate.

“If I was in Labor I could have been expelled (for crossing the floor) and it is the same thing in other parties.”

Mr Provest said he had a great relationship with Mr George and has thanked his Nationals colleagues and Tweed stakeholders for their assistance in securing the change to the bill.

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