Rayner 'deeply involved' with rally

A TRAIL of emails reveals Tweed Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner was helping Rally Australia organisers find sites for the event nearly four months before he publicly revealed the race proposal, just days prior to last September's council elections.

The emails show Mr Rayner was wishing the “best of luck with it all” to rally committee chairman Garry Connelly as far back as May 26, 2008.

As well, a letter inviting Mr Rayner to join the board of Rally Australia in November 2008 refers to Mr Rayner being “deeply involved” with the organisers for more than two years.

The comment dates Mr Rayner's involvement with the rally organisers as beginning prior to November 2006, just months after his appointment as council general manager in May that year.

Yesterday No Rally Group spokesman Michael McNa- mara said the email trail and the invitation to join the board revealed a “perceived conflict of interest”, which meant Mr Rayner should resign from either the board of Rally Australia or his job as council general manager -“or both”.

Mr McNamara released the emails and copy of the invitation which he obtained via a Freedom of Information request funded by the Caldera Environment Centre.

He said the emails reveal a “very chatty and familiar” relationship between Mr Rayner and Mr Connelly.

Mr Rayner said inquiries were made about holding the rally over a period of 18 months to two years.

“I assisted with any inquir- ies they had about the Tweed with regards to this matter.

“All this information was confidential as it related to commercial in-confidence matters. These emails were however registered in Council's internal document system and hence were available through FOI (Freedom of Information).”

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