Greens MP Ian Cohen today asked the Minister for State and Regional Development, Ian Macdonald, about the ‘negligible impact’ the Repco Rally had on the coffers of the Tweed Shire.

Mr Cohen said that according to figures provided by Tweed Tourism, in September 2009 – the month of the Repco Rally – there was an increase in visitor nights by only 867 compared with September of 2008 and an increase in takings from all accommodation by only $850,000 compared with the previous year.

“In the house today I asked the Minister whether he would agree that the Rally’s Socio-Economic Impact Assessment was grossly overstated. The Rally’s SEIA claimed the event ‘is estimated to increase tourist visitor nights by up to 92,000’ and would bring $30 million to the area,” Mr Cohen said.

“I also asked whether the Minister would agree that, comparing visitor numbers recorded by Tweed Tourism in September 2008 and September 2009 – an increase of only 626 people across the whole month – is a negligible impact unlikely to generate the touted $30 million in revenue for the area.

“The Minister responded by saying that he was committed to the Rally for another nine years and again crowed about what a great event the 2009 Rally was.

“The hype and spin the Minister continues to put out about this Rally defies the reality. Whilst some local businesses made good money over a three-day event, I don’t believe this will equate to the $30 million profit the Rally’s promoters had been touting.

“Given the data I have been receiving about what a blip this event was on the Tweed Tourism spreadsheet, I look forward to a full and thorough review of the Rally’s financial impact before we see nine more years of it. Given the Minister’s enthusiasm for future rallies prior to the review’s findings I don’t hold out much hope for proper process.”