Scenic Rim wants rally

REPCO Rally Australia could have a new home if a south east Queensland shire gets its way.

Scenic Rim Regional Council deputy mayor Dave Cockburn said hosting the Australian leg of the World Rally Championships would be an exciting opportunity for the area.

Last week Moncrieff Federal MP Steven Ciobo called for the rally to jump the state border, particularly to Beaudesert or Boonah, in the Scenic Rim region.

“This would benefit the region from both an economic perspective and a tourism perspective,” Mr Cockburn said.

“The Scenic Rim has beautiful surrounds and such an event would be a boost for the local tourism industry.

“Further planning and consideration will need to be undertaken first before anything formal came into play, and this of course would be dependant on the rally organisers' take on the suggestion.”

Mr Ciobo said the rally deserved to move because some radical protesters over the rally weekend were outrageous, embarrassing and potentially life-threatening.

“I've got a message for the organisers - make it easier on yourselves, spurn the rock-throwing eco-jihadists of the Tweed and bring your race to south east Queensland.”

“While I support people's right to protest, throwing rocks at vehicles is downright dangerous and those responsible should be charged.”

The Australian leg of the championship was held throughout Tweed and Kyogle earlier this month.

French runner-up Sebastian Loeb said last week he would not like to return to the Tweed.

“Drivers are saying they won't come back. This was not only embarrassing for the region, it was embarrassing for the nation,” Mr Ciobo said.

New South Wales Greens Upper House member Ian Cohen, who joined a peaceful protest about the rally, supported Mr Ciobo's suggestion.

“I noticed that the cars of most of the people who attended were carrying Queensland registration plates,” Mr Cohen said.

“It makes sense that an event so popular with Queenslanders should be held in their state.”

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said a change of location would be difficult.

“Rally Australia has an agreement with New South Wales Events for the next 10 years. It would be hard for them to get out of it,” Mr Villiers said.

“I think Steven (Ciobo) is just talking politics.”

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