Concerned Tweed Valley residents will express their opposition on Thursday to the proposal to hold a leg of the World Rally Championships in the Tweed and Kyogle areas.
No Rally Group, set up by locals in February to fight plans to hold the rally, has organized a protest at Knox Park commencing at 2pm which will then proceed to the Council Chambers.
“We will be staging our own rally” President of No Rally Group Michael McNamara said today “one that will not have the negative impacts of the real thing. We will have rally cars and animals and police”
The rally is proposed to run in September 2009 and every second year for up to 20 years.
“Many in the community can’t understand how this proposal ever got serious consideration” Mr McNamara said.
“We have the highest concentration of National Parks in the state, we are one of only three biodiversity hotspots in Australia, we are up there with Uluru and Kakadu in terms of ecological values and we have a strong and growing nature tourism market focused on eco-tourism” he said ”and yet somebody in the Premier’s Department had the bright idea that rally cars hurtling through the bush, including National Parks, at speeds in excess of 160km/h was somehow good for the area.”
Mr McNamara said that community outrage was palpable “We have been circulating a petition against the rally and at Kingscliff recently we had over 350 signatures in 3 hours”
“We have concerns about the Environmental, Economic, and Social impacts of the rally” he said.
“The way in which the proposal was developed, through secret back room deals in Sydney without any community consultation, and imposed on us is appalling” Mr McNamara said.
“The real financial costs of this proposed event have been conveniently ignored in predicting the supposed economic benefits to the area” he said “for instance the cost of the 150 police who will be brought in for the event runs to between $370,000 and $400,000 for salaries only. This does not include the cost of their travel and accommodation” he said.
“Because the event has been declared a Hallmark Event by the state government support from all government departments and agencies is provided free of charge, which means paid for by taxpayers” Mr McNamara said.
“This support is in addition to the several million dollars given to rally organizers by the state government through Events NSW and financial and other support provided by Tweed Shire Council” he continued.
“I am appalled that Nathan Rees, the NSW Premier, should once again impose his love for motor sports on the community generally and make the community pay for the privilege” he said.
Mr McNamara expressed concern about the environmental impact of the rally. “The studies that have been done are far from supportive of the event” he said.
“The environmental consultant contracted by Rally Australia to undertake the ecological assessment has refused to publicly endorse the rally, challenging quotes attributed to him by the organizers” Mr McNamara continued “and some of the strategies proposed in the various reports to address the risks would be laughable if it was not so serious”.
“To tell people affected by excessive noise and dust to go out for the day or to close their windows and doors and switch on their air conditioners is insulting” he said.
“The acoustic (noise) report actually acknowledges that the rally will be unable to meet acceptable noise levels” he continued.
“To only consider the impact on threatened animals and plants of being hit by rally cars, while ignoring the impact of rally associated activities by volunteers, rally staff and spectators is far from satisfactory.” Mr McNamara said “The organizers anticipate 6,000 visitors per day at the service park on the foreshore at Kingscliff, yet this activity was not covered in the ecological report.”
“The so-called ‘Carbon Offset Plan’ by the organizers did not even rate a separate document, being relegated to just one page on their website” he said.
Mr McNamara also expressed disappointment that after Garry Connelly from Repco Rally Australia promised to release the reports concerning the rally many of the downloaded reports were still marked as drafts. “This is just another example of the organizers saying one thing and doing another” he said.
“Rally Australia marched into New South Wales and the Tweed, after they got the boot from Western Australia, like the pied piper into Hamelin, and just like then all the rats are captivated by the music” he said.
Mr McNamara invited all concerned local residents to join the protest to be held in Murwillumbah on Thursday 28 May at 2pm, starting at Knox Park and proceeding to the Council Chambers.
Authorised by Michael McNamara, President, No Rally Group Inc.
TEL: 0438 357 452 EMAIL: no.rally[AT]yahoo.com
What you can do:
1. Attend our protest
2. Send the media release to your local media outlets.
3. Publicise our message through your social networks (on the web and in the "real" world)