ABC Australian news reported that someone somehow placed rocks on the road where rally cars would pass at some time prior to the Repco Rally event. Apparently stones or rocks were also thrown. See Rally rock-throwing 'could have killed', ABC news, September 5, 2009 http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/05/2677430.htm
First day of the rally
The picture of the car trailing dust has been included for educational purposes because it shows how much dust is being thrown up by a rally car on the unpaved roads that pass through national parks of World Heritage significance. One can imagine the noise and the speed from the picture. Unless you like noise, speed, metal and dust, this would be a very unpleasant experience. For wildlife it could be a fatal experience. Politically it could represent a fatal breech in the wall of law that has preserved Australia’s wild spaces to date.
Would Repco race cars through a cathedral?
The idea alone of racing cars through national parks is appalling to many. With the position of National Parks in Australia it is a bit like racing cars through cathedrals in Italy or France, except that the damage it is likely to do in the long term is that much more significant.
It may not result directly in the extinction of endangered species but, whether it does or not, it is like a big breech in the wall. If government can get away with doing this to our National natural cathedrals, they may soon be running the equivalent of brothels in cathedrals there. Indeed, the same NSW government which overturned local democracy (the most immediate form of democracy) to force this race on Australians, is also apparently prepared to allow the Shooters Party to shoot indigenous animals in National Parks.
The car is not exactly an endangered species
Many of us live on highways or have to drive to work and find this difficult enough. It is amazing to think that the NSW Parliament actually legislated away 12 environmental laws in order to import such a rally to this area, which, to date, was a sanctuary for animals, trees and humans. The local inhabitants have complained of the risk to life for humans and other animals in the area.
Today we received a letter to candobetter.org claiming that “Greenies” threw rocks at the rally drivers.
On September 5th, 2009 Jack (not verified) wrote:
"You greenies who are responsible for putting boulders on the road and throwing rocks might get charged with attempted manslaughter or murder if you are not careful. It is not a joke to do these things, one could expect it in a third world country but one would have hoped that in a so called educated society things like this would not happen. If you want to protest then do it in a more effective way than risking the life of another human being!”
The writer assumes that ‘Greenies’ were responsible for putting boulders on the road and throwing rocks. In fact we do not know who was responsible. However, let us take his other assertions in this paragraph. He says that we could expect such activity in a third world country, but not in an educated society. However it has been the anti-rally protesters’ contention that an educated society would not put a rally through international heritage rainforest national parks including 16 km of koala habitat. To many people the notion that we are an ‘educated society’ does not hold up because of this. Regarding third world societies: what are the criteria that make this kind of protest likely in the third world? Perhaps the quality of not having any other means to protest?
Is the writer actually unaware that 12 environmental laws were overturned to permit the rally?
Is the writer actually unaware that 12 environmental laws were overturned to permit the rally? This event has been enabled by the NSW Motor Sports (WRC) Bill 2009, which overrode 12 different planning, environmental protection and heritage laws and removed all right of appeal. Or has his enthusiasm for the rally diminished the importance of this fact in his eyes? If that is the case, I suggest that he reconsider these inconvenient facts.
What more effective ways are open to people in the Green Cauldron? They have protested peacefully in the streets, written to politicians, and invoked the law. The response from the government was extreme: The government abrogated the very environmental laws that the people had invoked to stop the race. Then, when a councilor took the matter to the courts, she felt that it was given the bum’s rush. Behind the abrogation of the 12 environmental laws was pressure from Repco, a global corporation of retailers of car parts, which apparently had far more pull with the NSW Government than the democratic wishes of members of its electorate.
Even some of the competitors sound as if they understand.
"Some people don't like us in front of their house but I didn't ask to come here," French competitor, Loeb reportedly said.
"I can understand why some people don't like the rally, but I have to do my job."
Indeed he does. But the problems are not the fault of the people defending their rights and their environment. (Source: "Rock throwers halt Rally Australia", ABC News, 4 September.)
What would have been much better is if the FIA had adhered to its stated high principles of environmental standards and good governance, saying, “No, Premier Rees, we want to be good global citizens. You must find a venue for this event which is acceptable to your citizens. We cannot stand by and let you overturn your own peoples’ laws in order to run a mere race. It will not do our reputations or yours any good. People have a right to self-government. We cannot impose things they hate on them. The French Revolution taught us that.”
So much for an educated, first world society.
“And do not bother denying it had anything to do with your movement, you ARE tarred with the brush in the same way that you like to tar motorsport with the "hooning" brush.”
Why didn't the FIA or drivers stand up for democracy against Repco and the NSW Government?
It would be reassuring if people in the rally movement had stood up for democracy. Since they have not it is hard not to see them as hoons. And since their representatives have not spoken up, they look like representatives of hoons. Those perceptions will change when rally-people stand up for democracy and justice along with the environmentalists. As long as you do not you defend the wholesale destruction of laws by a dictatorial government. Candobetter.org cannot comment on allegations about people who used rocks as weapons since we have absolutely no idea who those people were. It is even conceivable that people wishing to give the environmentally concerned a bad name threw the rocks themselves. That would seem to me more likely since, from the point of view of an environmentalist – a person who defends wild spaces – throwing rocks is rather similar, although not as bad, as driving racing cars through world heritage landscapes and biodiverse hotspots.
False argument pretends area not worth protecting
"I watched the you tube video and I have never seen so much rubbish in all my life,
Mostly it looks like farming country, overgrown with weeds, so much for the environment."
I am not a resident of the area, but, to me this is what the videos have conveyed. We saw a koala crossing the road and we have been told elsewhere that the rally passes through 16km of koala habitat. We know that koalas are endangered. That, to me, is enough to tell me that the area cannot be totally degraded.
Secondly, it would not be surprising if the area is being degraded, given the kinds of forces it is subjected to. That is not the fault of environmentalists. The area was rural with forested parts. There is obviously a tension between rural, other commercial values and the environmental values of local constituents. Environmental has to win out, however, because the area is internationally recognized for its biodiverse and landscape qualities. Car races, shops and farms already take up substantial parts of this country and if we still cannot make a go of what we have already got economically, then destroying more wildlife habitat is not likely to help.
Impact of farming
"Farming does far more harm to the environment than Rally could ever do!
After having experienced Rally Australia in Western Australia for 18 years I can assure you that there will not be hundreds of wild animals killed, in any way!
If the people who live and run businesses in the towns involved have any clues they will see the prospects for adding value to what they do or in fact even starting up new ventures all because of the Rally."
Farming is certainly problematic because it converts wild-spaces for food. However the farms are already there. The rally was not. It was an additional stressor. As for the damage it might do. I have compared it to racing through cathedrals and I stand by that. This country is absolutely covered and ringbarked with roads, for Pete’s sake – how could racing car drivers possibly justify taking roadspace in National Parks? And, I do not see how you could argue to put a koala at risk just for some ephemeral potential ‘profits’ which will not sustain any human in the long term.
Little evidence for much touted 'economic advantages' and no amount of money could make this right
The Rally will bring economic benefit to the area and to the state in general, you lot rave on about eco tourism, I can assure you that if the area does indeed have something to offer then the Rally will bring thousands of international tourists.
The insistance that this rally will bring lots of money to Tweed has been knocked down over and over. Our definitions of what constitutes 'economic benefit' must differ.
"Same Rally cost WA tax-payers $6m+ p.a.
Previous speakers who praised the rally indicated that it will bring $100 million of value to the area. They do not understand what they are talking about. For example, $100 million over what period? It is certainly not for this one race that is coming up; nor for the one in two years time or the one in 10 years time. It is the accumulated value they think they might get if everything is done and all options are accepted between now and 2027. A more true picture comes from Western Australia. The Western Australian Government no longer wanted the rally, indicating that it was costing Western Australia $6 million a year and it was not getting economic value to make up for that $6 million." Source For more on the debate read here.
Our definitions of ‘eco-tourism’ must also differ. Who want’s tourists in national parks who come to watch noisy cars go round and round and tear up the earth and vegetation, kill wildlife, and pollute the atmosphere with petroleum fumes and dead soil organisms from the dust? How could anyone consider that desirable? For someone who likes quietly walking through a forest amid a community of other species, just like someone who might enjoy praying in a cathedral and looking up through the stained-glass windows and imagining they were in God’s house, your idea that racing cars through these quiet and otherly places might add to their ‘value’ seems really strange.
And the thing is, nature preservation does not cause the extinction of car-rallies, since there are roads for rallies everywhere, but roads and rallies do destroy nature. I mean, what environmentalists do and like does not stop rally fans from doing what they do and like somewhere else. For instance, the Goldcoast Super GP Rally will be staged next month, through city streets, just across the border from this one. However, if you want to do your thing in our quiet places, you destroy what we have. Look around you: the world is absolutely full of roads and noisy cars. Your kind of ‘paradise’ is proliferating daily. Ours isn’t. It is disappearing. Have a sense of proportion.
There is a huge contingent of International Rally people who follow the WRC around the world, just like the people who follow Tennis or Cricket or Footy, Yep just the same, and they will be coming to your part of the world, generally speaking they have a few bucks in their back pocket and have great fun unloading the stuff, so do not think there is no money to be made.
Obviously money is very important to you, much more important to you than beauty, wildlife, peace and quiet and democracy. Even if money were more important than place for environmentalists, it has already been shown many times that the rally has brought a net financial loss when costs are taken into account or no benefit to other communities where it has been held.
You need to try to see that environmentalists need to protect what they love and that rally values will harm what they treasure most. The rally is invading green environmental space and trying to change it. It has also destroyed democratic space, by forcing the overturning of laws. That alone should signal "Danger! Danger!" On the other side, environmentalists are not invading road-space. The huge contingent of International Rally people have lots of places made of concrete and tar and cement where they can go and they will possibly even be welcome there.
"If you think however that you should just need to stand in line with your hand out to get your share then you have your head in the sand (or somewhere else!)"
Honestly, this stuff about making lots of money out of these rallies just sounds like pie in the sky. After the rally has been run, however, I think that residents would be justified in demanding compensation for the trauma of having their democratic self-government annihilated and their environmental laws overturned, as well as their peace disturbed and their happiness destroyed by the need to go out of their way to try to protect what they love due to the failure of their governments to enforce protections which were available at law prior to the rally and were overturned because of the rally and for no other reason. Those environmentalists would be justified in demanding ongoing compensation since the intention is to continue to stage this rally for decades.
Democracy is the big question
"An event like this will always have those who are against having it, well we live in a democracy, so if it is taking place then there must be a higher number of people who want it than don't, bad luck!"
But that is the very problem. We DON'T live in a democracy in Australia anymore, and things have got particularly desperate in Tweed Shire due to the Repco Rally. By removing legal protections from the community's right to environmental protection and self-government the NSW Government has left the community in a situation of lawlessness and injustice. Did you not realise that 12 laws were put aside to run this rally? Why would the NSW government and Repco have had to go to such extraordinary lengths to impose the rally - and overturn democracy - if so many people, as you believe, wanted this rally? Why did they not just allow democracy to prevail, instead of removing it?
"I suggest that you greenies would be better off spending your time and money trying to fix up a couple of the countries biggest environmental disasters which are on your back doorstep, like the Murray Darling disaster for one!"
At candobetter we continue to represent problems with the Murray Darling and other threatened waters. If environmentalists were not busy defending multiple cherished places under attack by developers and now democracy under this rally, they would indeed have more time to dedicate to these ongoing other threats. If the rally were withdrawn from the Green Cauldron we could all get on with the other jobs.
 "" Source: http://www.norallygroup.org/