No Rally Group president Michael McNamara has called on Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett to declare the proposed Repco Rally Australia round of the World Rally Championships in the Tweed/Kyogle areas a “controlled action” under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection Biodiversity Control (EPBC) Act.
He says this would require consideration of the rally proposal by the Commonwealth Department of Environment under Commonwealth law.
“Despite repeated promises (the latest on ABC radio on Sunday) to abide by the recommendations of the various reports they commissioned, Repco Rally Australia have ignored a recommendation by their ecological consultant, Dr Steven Phillips, to refer the application for the rally to the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett,” he said.
“The recommendation has come to light in a revised version of Dr Phillips’ ecological report downloaded from the Repco Rally Australia website.
“Dr Phillips says, on page 116 of his revised final report on the Tweed (when considering the Urliup stage) ‘there does remain the possibility of a localised reduction in the Area of Occupancy of the Spotted-tailed Quoll should one or more individuals of this species be killed by a motor vehicle during rally activity. While we consider the probability of such an event to be low, given the difficulty in ameliorating the risk of such an incident we consider it prudent to also refer the application to the Federal Environment Minister for advice and/or approval.’
“The rally organisers crowed far and wide earlier this year to anyone who would listen that they would abide by the recommendations of their consultants, but they did not even have the courtesy to let the local communities directly affected by the rally know that the report had been updated.
“This is yet another case of the organisers’ complete disregard for the local communities on which they have imposed their event.
“This rally is a blatant example of environmental and social vandalism that has been endorsed by a state government sadly out of touch with the needs of the environment and the wishes of local communities.
“Peter Garrett has a duty to intervene in the interests of this unique area, its wildlife and its people.”