Rally is here, so down to business
REPCO Rally Australia has been given the green light and the race is now on to ensure the Tweed is ready to host what will be one of the biggest events to hit the region.
Thousands of people will descend on the area to watch some of the world's best drivers showcase their skills on our roads from September 3 to 6.
The passage of the Motor Sports Bill 2009 through parliament on Tuesday night means the controversial event will go ahead.
While the rally's supporters, like Tweed Tourism's Phil Villiers and Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce president Toni Zuschke encourage businesses to prepare for the event, which is expected to bring $31 million to the local economy, the No Rally Group says those claims of economic benefits from the event need to be held to account.
“As the chamber, we are basically saying the opportunity is there now to grasp and businesses would be wise to get ready for it and make sure all aspects of their business are prepared,” Ms Zuschke
“From the chamber's point of view, there are a lot of things that need to be put in place so we can present a face for the event.
“It is a matter of giving the correct impression to each visitor so they feel they are visiting something special. It is important we as a local area welcome the visitors with open arms so we influence them to come back in the future.”
She said the Murwillumbah business community was enthusiastic about the event and had shown their support through the ongoing turmoil and controversy.
While people weren't sure what to expect, she said Speed on Tweed had given the area the practice it needed to host the rally.
“We have had a bit of practice, so we know what to expect, we know the benefit and we are excited about it.”
Mr Villiers said 250 television networks from across the world would broadcast the rally, with 180 media expected on the ground in the Tweed.
The rally presented wonderful potential to market the region, he said.
“It will be broadcast into domestic and international markets, you just can't put a price on the benefits the promotion will have for the area,” Mr Villiers said.
He said accommodation bookings had already started to kick in, even though Tourism New South Wales' domestic advertising campaign had not started.
Both hoped first time visitors for the rally would discover the Tweed as a destination for a good domestic holiday, or even a good place to invest money.
Meanwhile, rally protestors are considering their next move and will meet at Uki Hall at 2.30pm on Saturday to hear a briefing on the Motor Sports Bill by the Environmental Protection Office.
No Rally Group President Michael McNamara said the passage of the bill showed the government had been prepared to ride roughshod over the democratic rights and legal entitlements of local communities to force the event on Northern New South Wales.
“Rally organisers and their supporters will be crowing about this decision, but they should not get too cocky,” he said.
“As the old saying goes, 'the proof is in the pudding', and this pudding is far from cooked.
“Rally organisers have promised a jobs bonanza and a profits feast. They must be held to account.”