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Tweed has more spinners than a 19th century cotton mill

Macca's picture

In August 2008 the Tweed Shire administrators, as one of their last decisions while running the Council, decided to provide financial and other support to Repco Rally Australia (RRA) for their proposed car rally in the Tweed Valley. Recently, the details of that decision are being rewritten by newly elected councillors and the General Manager.

The Administrators decided to provide support as follows:

  • $120,000 per event (every second year);
  • office accommodation for 4 people for 18 months (RRA to be responsible for operating costs); and
  • free use of council workshops to conduct pre-race and post-race scrutineering of rally cars.

They also authorised the General Manager (who later joined the board of directors of RRA) to negotiate additional "in-kind" support.

How can the CEO of the Council also sit on the board of a private company seeking to lodge a development application?

This decision, and his taking up the position, raises (in the minds of many reasonable local residents) a conflict of interest. How can the CEO of the Council also sit on the board of a private company seeking to lodge a development application?

Anyway, back to the main point of this message.

Up till 2008, a classic car race event called Speed on Tweed was run in the centre of Murwillumbah each September. Due to loss of sponsorship, 2008 was the last running of this event.

Some in the Council are now claiming that the $120,000 given to RRA (with no stated accountability or reporting requirements) was actually given to them for Speed on Tweed. This version might (only might mind you) be more believable had the local daily newspaper not run a denial from RRA (Tweed Daily News 17/4/09) that there was any agreement that they would sponsor Speed on Tweed.

The only publicly available information about the contributions by Council towards RRA is the resolution of the August 2008 Council meeting. The minutes of that discussion have not been publicly released. These discussions should have been made publicly available from the start rather than being buried in a shroud of secrecy.

Anyway, the deal to sponsor Speed on Tweed is now signed and sealed. And I believe it will be used to pressure that Council to approve the DA for the rally.

This whole sorry saga raises several questions of ethics and due process.

  1. If, and it is a very big if, the money was given to RRA to support Speed on Tweed - BUT that fact was not made public then the Council has "played favourites". Its decision (and the hiding of it) gave a negotiating advantage to RRA in its discussions with the organisers of Speed on Tweed.
  2. If the money was really for Speed on Tweed, why did the Council not announce that fact when they decided to give the money (with NO CONDITIONS) to RRA?

Maybe it's time the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) or the Ombudsman was involved?

What you can do:

  1. Contact Tweed Shire Council and insist that:
    • the General Manager, Mike Rayner, be required to resign his position as a director of Repco Rally Australia because of the conflict of interest it creates;
    • Repco Rally Australia be required to account for the spending of the $120,000 given to it by Council;
  2. Come to No Rally Group meetings. For more information contact no.rally[AT];
  3. Attend protest at 2pm, 28 May at Knox Park, Murwillumbah.