Organisers of Repco Rally Australia, which will be staged in the Northern Rivers on 3–6 September, will undertake a comprehensive carbon offset plan for the World Rally Championship event.
 
Rally Australia says its Environmental Advisory Committee has endorsed the plan, which combines specific initiatives of the organisers with ‘opt-in’ options for various elements.

The organisers have decided to offset the expected carbon emissions for competing vehicles, spectator traffic, media traffic, helicopters and officials’ traffic during the event. They will also offset emissions from the service park, event headquarters and the media centre.
 
Calculations have been made based on the expected fuel consumption of all parties and this has been compared with calculations prepared for the 2008 Rally Japan – an event which attracted entries and spectator numbers similar to those expected at Repco Rally Australia – and Rally Norway.
 
However, the organisers have factored into the cost of all spectator tickets and corporate hospitality packages an emissions-offset surcharge so that if attendances at the rally exceed the figures used in the calculation, this surcharge will be used to purchase additional carbon offsets.
 
In addition, the organisers will encourage all interstate and overseas teams to voluntarily offset their emissions from flights carrying personnel and freight through their airline carrier.
 
Notwithstanding the recommendations of the Kyoto Agreement, which suggest that offsetting should be done through programs in developing countries, the rally organisers wish to ensure that the offsetting from this event results in an investment in New South Wales, and where possible, in the local region.
 
The Chairman of the event’s Environmental Advisory Committee, Colin Trinder, said: “The issue of offsetting is a complicated matter.  There is strong argument to fund investment in existing plantations of grown trees. However, the organisers would also like to assist Landcare and similar groups to plant trees in the Kyogle and Tweed regions.”
 
The organisers have calculated the cost of purchasing carbon offsets for the amount described, based on commercial rates in NSW. They are then offering to spend between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of that amount with local groups and invite expressions of interest.

Any group lodging an expression must be able to guarantee compliance to international standards.

The remainder of the funding will be spent with Forests New South Wales.
 
A Question and Answer document on the Carbon Offsett Plan is available on www.rallyaustralia.com.au