Rally Australia Chairman Garry Connelly.
Rally Australia Chairman Garry Connelly. Tweed Daily News

Rally calls for support

RALLY Australia boss Garry Connelly is urging the Tweed community to “get positive” about the World Rally Championship, claiming a newly released environmental report will silence many of the event's critics.

Mr Connelly said at a media conference this week the Tweed leg of the World Rally Championships would attract up to 25,000 people and generate about $20 million for the economy.

A series of reports to be included in the event's Development Application were unveiled at the media conference. And all will soon be uploaded to the Rally Australia website.

The ecological report was the first to be released to the public when it was uploaded to the website last night.

Mr Connelly told journalists the reports contained “absolutely nothing” that would prevent the Tweed leg of the World Rally Championships from going ahead.

“I think it is now time this region got positive about this event in a public sense. We know from talking to people that there is fantastic support for this event and for what it will give to the region,” Mr Connelly said.

“We visited the 460 homes that exist on the route of the course, and of the 290 that were home or that have been in contact with us, we can tell you that 85 per cent of those people, and they are the people who are going to be affected most, were supportive of the event.

“We know there will be some people who will oppose the rally due to individual concerns. We believe that these reports will placate those people and answer their questions.”

Mr Connelly, chairman of Rally Australia, said the environmental report was undertaken by five scientists, led by Dr Steven Phillips.

“Part of any application, and part of what we want to do anyway, is prepare a series of reports. The work that has gone into those reports has been very, very detailed and far more than we expected,” Mr Connelly said.

“We thought it was only fair that the public should have a chance to see the contents of these reports. So rather than wait, we felt it was better to get these out into the public domain.”

At the press conference, the official route of the World Rally Championship's Tweed leg was unveiled and Mr Connelly said a number of changes were made from the original plans for a number of reasons, including bridges, roads and wildlife.

Mr Connelly recognised there were legitimate concerns raised about the rally's impact on wildlife.

He was confident they had been addressed and used koalas as an example.

“In this report done by Dr Steven Phillips, you will find two koala plans of management which will enable us to very adequately and satisfactorily address any issues in relation to koalas on this event.

“I would like to think that our present koala community in the Tweed and Kyogle shires is going to be as safe on the weekend of the rally as they will be at any other time of the year.

“There is no indication that there will be a higher incidence of road kill from competing cars over that weekend than there would be on any other weekend.”

Info time

Rally Australia will release reports on its website in this order

  • Last night: ecological
  • Today: socio-economic
  • Monday: cultural heritage
  • Tuesday: dust management
  • Wednesday: noise impact, carbon offset
  • Thursday: waste management

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