About 300 people turned out for the protest.
About 300 people turned out for the protest. Tweed Daily News/Blainey Woodham

Govt to approve rally

THE New South Wales government will go above the Tweed Shire Council's head to guarantee the Australian round of the World Rally Championships.

A special legislation is being developed by the State Government at the request of international motorsport body, the Paris-based Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, who sought confirmation the scheduled Tweed and Kyogle event would proceed.

NSW State Development Minister Ian Macdonald said on Friday the legislation is needed to ensure the event comes to the state instead of waiting for Council approval.

“The Government is developing appropriate special legislation to ensure the event can happen in September,” Mr Macdonald said. “The legislation will permit the Government to impose environmental protection measures to manage any temporary impacts on affected local areas.

Mr Macdonald said the three-day event will bring $100 million to the state economy.

“This major event will drive tourism, create jobs and deliver significant economic benefits to the Northern Rivers,” he said.

“Representatives from the Murwillumbah and District Chamber of Commerce and Tweed Tourism are supportive of the event. They realise the potential it has to deliver massive economic benefits and showcase the region.”

Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout will today travel to Sydney to meet with the Premier's office and Events NSW to further clarify the Council's role in the event.

“There is a need to consult closely with the Government to be quite clear about the ongoing role of the Tweed Shire Council,” Cr van Lieshout said.

“We are going to ensure full information comes down the line from the state to the Tweed so we have full transparency. I want to assure the community I will continue to remain in close contact with all stakeholders and will inform you accordingly.”

Cr van Lieshout said she will keep the interests of Tweed residents in mind.

“The challenge now is to engage in a relationship with the State Government in order to ensure we minimise the identified impacts while at the same time maximising the broader economic benefits to deliver a very positive outcome for the Tweed community,” she said.

No Rally Group president Michael McNamara said he wants to see the Tweed Shire Council condemn the event.

“The organisers of this unwanted event need to realise that the residents of the NSW North Coast have a proud and effective history of resisting inappropriate development,” Mr McNamara said. “Those same residents are determined to see this event follow suit.”

Mr McNamara said it will be closely examining the proposed new legislation.

Repco Rally Australia organising committee chairman Garry Connelly said the legislation would facilitate the event's continuing marketing and promotional strategies.

“We now hope to be able to start the all-important marketing of Repco Rally Australia, including the launch of ticket sales in the near future,” Mr Connelly said.

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