Minister for State Development, Ian Macdonald, today conceded to pressure from the Greens’ Ian Cohen and committed in the House to a ‘proper economic review’ of the Repco Rally – in compliance with the Motor Sports (World Rally Championship) Act –  with a statement in the Parliament today.

“My office was alarmed to hear that Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), the company contracted to review the Repco Rally, was not going to be undertaking an economic cost benefit analysis. Mike Cahill, the managing director of IMC, confirmed this in correspondence with a resident in the Rally area,” says Ian Cohen.

“I asked the Minister in Question Time today why IMC was not doing an economic analysis and how IMC could possibly recommend the continuation of the Rally to the Minister if such an analysis has not been done.

“The Minister’s initial response was his usual bluster about what a great event it was and how local businesses did such good trade over that weekend.

“Such anecdotal assertions are spurious and mean nothing if not supported by a full economic analysis of the event. I have heard of businesses that actually suffered as a result of the event.

“A proper analysis is the only way to determine if the event was financially viable.

“I have reservations as to how we will discover the real cost benefit of the Rally, since the amount of funding given by Events NSW to the Rally organisers has been kept secret under ‘commercial in confidence’. If we don’t know the initial outlay, how can final figures be determined?

“Many local people fear the review process will go the way of the ‘community consultations’ that took place before the event. Locals were consulted then their concerns overridden by the special legislation that enabled the event and switched off all planning and environmental laws that would have prevented it.

“The Minister must have consulted his own Act and remembered that he is bound by Section 25 of the Motor Sports (World Rally Championship) Act that says, ‘The Minister is to conduct a review of the impact in the Northern Rivers region of the rally event to determine whether future rally events should be conducted in that region’.

“Minister Macdonald announced to the House at the end of Question Time that there would be an economic analysis of the Rally. Whilst an economic analysis is important, the real concern about the Rally is the impact it has had on the environment and the community and the likely negative impact any future rallies will have.”