Group plans protests to disrupt rally

OPPONENTS of the World Rally Championship car race in Tweed are planning protests during the event, including “passive obstruction” and tactics designed to delay or frustrate rally drivers, organisers and spectators.

A new protest group, called 7th Generation, has called on residents of Tweed and Kyogle shires opposed to the rally to consider taking part in a range of actions during the event from September 3-6.

One tactic will be “passive obstruction”, which the group says means protesters only moving if asked to move by police.

The group intends to target the pits area at the Cudgen Leagues Club grounds at Kingscliff, certain stages and various points along the rally route. It has also called for volunteers to delay the rally by driving their cars slowly on connecting roads for one hour on any or every day of the race.

Others have been asked to erect protest banners - on the roofs of houses that are near the rally route and on car roofs - for race helicopters to film.

Protesters will also stand by the sides of roads with placards and erect signs near roads.

In addition, New South Wales Greens Party politician Ian Cohen has called on federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to intervene against the rally, following two independent environmental reports that Mr Cohen says recommend the event be referred to Mr Garrett for assessment.

“The reports, by Dr Stephen Ambrose and Mark Graham, highlight the impact of the race on a number of endangered and vulnerable species, including the giant barred frog, Fleay's barred frog, spotted-tailed quoll, three-toed snake-toothed skink, black-breasted button-quail and the long-nosed potoroo,” Mr Cohen said.

“It is clear that the Repco Rally impacts upon matters of national environmental significance and no amount of special legislation rammed through New South Wales parliament can change that.

“Minister Garrett cannot simply wipe his hands clean of the irresponsible stewardship of the New South Wales government in disregarding conservation and ecological values of the Green Cauldron.”

The reports showed Mr Garrett should reconsider his decision not to initiate a federal assessment of the rally, Mr Cohen said.

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