Last-ditch effort to prevent rally
NO Rally Group is consulting legal advice on lodging an injunction against Repco Rally Australia this week in the latest bid to stop the international competition.
Group president Michael McNamara yesterday said his anti-rally group is considering all action, including a visit to federal court, to intervene in the September event on the matters of national environmental significance.
“We are thinking about taking legal action and launching an injunction against the rally until it has been considered by the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act,” Mr McNamara said.
“We have considered all possible ways we can stop this rally.”
The injunction, if successful, could halt the local leg of the World Rally Championships, which is scheduled for September 3 to 6 in the Tweed and Kyogle shires.
The rally has already sold thousands of dollars worth of tickets as well as booked-out accommodation across the shire.
“It anything happens it will be this week,” Mr McNamara said.
No Rally Group along with Kyogle environmental group 7th Generation will be represented by the Northern Rivers Environmental Defender's Office (EDO) based in Lismore.
EDO senior solicitor Sue Higginson said lodging an injunction would depend on the opinion of a barrister on prospects.
“The barrister has already been briefed and we are expecting an answer any day now.
“Time is of the essence,” Ms Higginson said.
“If the barrister believes it can stand up in court we will advise our clients and we will go from there.”
A report commissioned for Repco Rally back in May by Murwillumbah ecological consultant Dr Stephen Phillips concluded any impacts arising from the rally are unlikely to be significant in terms of both Federal and State government assessment criteria.
Two independent environmental reports released earlier this month however by Mark Graham and Dr Stephen Ambrose called on Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to assess the rally, with claims the race will have an impact on a number of endangered and vulnerable species.
Mr McNamara said No Rally Group have already called on Mr Garrett to declare the rally a “controlled action” and give it a Commonwealth assessment, but to no avail.
Chairman of the Repco Rally Australia board Alan Evans yesterday said an overwhelming majority of the community supports the event.
“This is just another guerrilla action by the No Rally Group. They should be putting energy into getting behind the rally,” Mr Evans said.
“The community supports us in bringing the greatest international event the Northern Rivers has seen.
“We're committed to following all environmental recommendations made in the report by Dr Phillips.”
A Repco Rally Australia spokesman added they would be represented in any possible Federal Court hearing.
“We don't expect this application by No Rally Group to be successful, however,” the spokesman said.
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