Residents concerned about the Repco Rally called on Environment Minister Peter Garrett this week to uphold Federal law after the passage of the NSW Motor Sports Bill cut a raft of existing State laws out from under them.
Representatives from the No Rally Group (NRG), 7th Generation (Kyogle), the Caldera Environment Centre (Murwillumbah), and Friends of the Koala gathered at the Lismore Regional Gallery on Wednesday, where Mr Garrett opened local artist Dailan Pugh’s exhibition to remind him of his obligation to protect threatened wildlife and areas of national significance.
“We ask Minister Garrett to ensure environmental impacts from the rally are assessed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” NRG spokesperson Scott Sledge said.
“We also call on the Minister to auspice the rally review process legislated in the Motor Sports Bill, to ensure that its stated outcomes are met.
“We need a credible review of the environmental and cultural impacts, as well as real evidence of the economic benefits rally proponents claim will rain down upon the region.”
Mr Sledge said areas of national significance within the scope of the EPBC Act close to rally stages include Mt Warning NP and Wollumbin Nature Reserve.
Threatened and migratory species and threatened ecological communities within the rally area also come under the scope of the Act.
“The endangered Mitchell’s Rainforest Snail, Giant Barred Frog and Coxen’s Fig Parrot are considered of national significance. Habitats can be damaged and animals die of stress even if they are not directly struck by vehicles,” Mr Sledge said.
“The Motor Sports 2009 Bill, passed in State Parliament two weeks ago, suspends the application of legislation including the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, the National Parks and Wildlife Act, the Water Management Act and the Forestry Act in the declared rally area.
“Restating his recent comments to local media, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett said the Motor Sports Act was a State matter, but that he was aware of community concerns over the rally and was watching the situation closely.”