A confidential report compiled by Tweed Shire Council Officers, which points out flaws in Rally Australia's environmental assessment, was leaked by Councillor Katie Millne.
A confidential report compiled by Tweed Shire Council Officers, which points out flaws in Rally Australia's environmental assessment, was leaked by Councillor Katie Millne. Tweed Daily News

Rally report flawed: memo

INCREASED movement of koalas in spring has not been taken in to account by organisers of Rally Australia, a secret report by Tweed Shire Council officers has stated.

Serial 'leaker', councillor Katie Milne, has defied a media policy adopted by the council just a week ago, to make the public aware of the concerns.

A 400-page environmental report commissioned by Rally Australia was criticised by council officers for taking into account just the first event.

And it is claimed the same report is flawed, as it was undertaken in autumn, but the event will be staged in spring.

“No cumulative impact of ongoing races has been considered, nor has an active life of each plan been defined,” a council officer writes.

“The flora and fauna survey has been conducted in autumn apparently, yet the race will be conducted in spring.

“Due to more active behaviour and movement in spring associated with breeding cycles, it is possible the diversity of species present during the race period may have been underestimated and the activity of individual species and thus their likelihood to be on or around the road may have been underestimated.

“September is within the peak time that koalas are moving around and often on the ground.”

Yesterday, Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout criticised Cr Milne for a “complete lack of adherence” to the media policy, adopted by the councillors themselves only last week.

“I understand Cr Milne's concern for community consultation, however it is important that we knowingly abide by the rules,” Cr van Lieshout said. Tweed Shire Council's Director Planning and Regulation, Vince Connell, said Rally Australia had advice from council, which was provided at a workshop that involved councillors and Rally Australia.

“Feedback was given at their request. There was no requirement for the report to be made public as council was not the consent authority. Legislation had been passed by the State Government granting approval for the event.”

Cr Milne defended her actions as being in the public interest.

“I am releasing this report as I have a legal duty as a councillor under the Local Government Act to facilitate communication between the council and the community,” Cr Milne said in a statement.

Further concerns were also raised by council officers, including noise and its impact on species - however, with the passing of the Motor Sports (World Rally Championship) Bill 2009, no enforcement action can be taken in the event that significant noise issues arise.



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