Council chief defends rally role
TWEED Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner has defended his move to take up a position on the board of Repco Rally Australia in the face of growing criticism from rally opponents.
Mr Rayner has made his alliance with the rally organisers although they are yet to lodge development applications with both Tweed Shire and Kyogle Shire councils to hold the event in September.
He said his intention was to maximise the benefit that the rally could bring to the region, and the best way to do that was to join the board.
“I was invited onto the board of Rally Australia - a non-remunerated position,” he said.
“I put a report to council. Council resolved I should take a seat on the board in my role as general manager.
“The reason for that ... is what we want to do as the Tweed, as for Kyogle and for the region generally is to maximise the benefit that this rally can bring to the region.
“The best place to be able to influence that very clearly, I would have thought, is at the board table.”
Speaking to North Coast ABC Radio, Mr Rayner said he had contacted the NSW Department of Local Government about the matter and the department did not have any concerns about a conflict of interest.
He rejected suggestions that his position would sway the thinking of staff below him whose job it would be to assess the development application.
Mr Rayner said he had “absolutely nothing to do” with preparation of the development application for the rally.
Mr Rayner's position on the board has come under continued fire from Greens Party councillor Katie Milne, who was one of the main speakers at a protest against the rally in Uki on Saturday.
About 100 people turned out at the “rally against the rally” and heard of concerns about the high speed of rally cars travelling through national parks and koala habitats.
The protest followed comments last week by car rally organisers rejecting some of the reasons cited by groups opposed to the event.
The rally's general manager Gary Upson, who is based in Tweed Shire Council's Murwillumbah office block, is this morning due to outline rally plans at a monthly breakfast meeting of the Murwillumbah District Business Chamber.