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Who put the CON in Consultation?

Macca's picture

Local community groups in the Tweed Valley and Kyogle are outraged at their treatment by Repco Rally Australia and their consultants who prepared a crucial report supporting a planned car rally in the area in September.

In another embarrassing case of “foot in mouth disease” for the rally organisers it was revealed today that local community groups in the Tweed Valley and Kyogle are claiming that they have been misrepresented in a major report on the planned Repco Rally Australia.

Prepared by Conics Pty Ltd for Repco Rally Australia, the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment claimed to have consulted with various community organisations in preparing the report.

Representatives of community groups have expressed outrage at being misrepresented in the report and in some cases not consulted at all.

Here is the text of their letter sent to local and state media:

We, the undersigned, wish to advise the community that our respective community associations have been misrepresented in the CONICS report entitled Rally Australia Socio-Economic Impact Assessment which was commissioned by Repco Rally Australia.

We have been listed on p.29 of this report as being the representatives of our respective community associations who were supposedly part of the community consultation process.

We wish to advise that no such community consultation ever took place. We were, however, individually contacted by a CONICS representative and asked a series of questions regarding the rally, which at the time, appeared to be nothing more than a random Gallup Poll.

However, by their own admission, the CONICS representative omitted to inform us that we were being interviewed as the spokesperson for our respective associations and that our interviews were being recorded. One interviewee asked the CONICS representative during the interview, if the interview was being recorded and was only then told that it was. The interviewee was simply told that she was being interviewed as a “key stakeholder”.

Nevertheless, each of us presented our own personal views of the rally. We did not speak on behalf of our respective associations.

A second group of community groups were noted in the report as being unavailable or unwilling to participate. However, we wish to advise that not all of those listed as such were, in fact, ever contacted.

In the case of the KRATER Group from Kyogle, the representative did know she was being interviewed on behalf of KRATER, however the views of her organisation were noticeably omitted from the report.

So, given that the community consultation indicated in the report did not take place as stated, nor accurately represent the wider community, we believe that this report is therefore invalid.

Maggie Wilkins-Russell, Uki Village & District Residents’ Association
Diana Eriksen, Murwillumbah Ratepayers’ Association
Claire Masters, Tweed Landcare Inc.
Ian Anderson, North Kingscliff Dune Care Group
Mary Willis, KRATER Group Kyogle
Bob Jarman & Johanna Kempff, Kyogle Landcare Group
NB Bob Jarman & Johanna Kempff are from Richmond Landcare Services, not Kyogle
Landcare. Richmond Landcare Services were not contacted either.