REPCO Australia Rally organising chairman Garry Connelly.
REPCO Australia Rally organising chairman Garry Connelly. Tweed Daily News

Environment expert clears rally

A HIGHLY-respected environmental scientist, revered by many in Tweed's green movement, has given the green light to the controversial world championship car rally to be held on local bush roads in September.

Dr Stephen Phillips, who is often quoted by local conservationists for his work on koalas and other environmental issues, says he can see no reason on ecological grounds why the event should not proceed.

Dr Phillips reached that conclusion in an ecological report totalling almost 400 pages which his Murwillumbah-based company Biolink Pty Ltd has completed for the organisers of Repco Rally Australia.

The report, comprising one section devoted to Kyogle Shire and one to the Tweed Shire plus respective Koala Plans of Management, was yesterday posted on the rally website and welcomed by organisers.

“We are delighted with the conclusions of the report, which clearly indicate that this rally can be conducted in a manner that is in harmony with the ecological values of the area,” organising committee chairman Garry Connelly said.

Dr Phillips and his staff worked for more than four months to prepare and compile the detailed report.

He said it examined all aspects of flora and fauna in the area of the competitive “special stages” of the rally and the likely impact, if any, of that competition.

Dr Phillips said he and four staff spent about 450 hours inspecting the entire rally route, at intervals of approximately 250 metres on both sides of the road, in exacting detail.

The project applied independent, highly ethical and professional standards to develop “scientifically-objective outcomes based on informed principles of species management, biodiversity conservation and ecologically-sustainable development”.

Dr Phillips recommended the rally organisers implement a Koala Plan of Management plus other measures to eliminate or minimise impact on flora and fauna.

“The organisers have willingly embraced and agreed to implement all our recommendations,” Dr Phillips said.

“I can see no reason, on ecological grounds, why this event should not proceed.”

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