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(28/10/2013)  MINISTER for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, today congratulated Rally Australia after it received the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Institute’s environmental award for the Achievement of Excellence – the first motor sport event to ever achieve the award.

“This is a fantastic recognition for Rally Australia, after having staged a very successful World Rally Championships in Coffs Harbour last month,” Mr Souris said.

The FAI Institute said community members, spectators and competitors were encouraged to follow environmentally-friendly practices throughout the event and a programme is in place to achieve total carbon neutrality by the end of 2013.

Its assessment team noted that Rally Australia had a strong environmental commitment throughout the organisation and showed it was planned and executed to ensure a high level of environmental performance, demonstrating the strong commitment to sustainability.

“Following the success of the 2013 event, there is no doubt why Rally Australia has been selected to once again host a round of the FIA World Rally Championships on The Coffs Coast in 2014,” Mr Souris said.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser congratulated Rally Australia on its great organisation and the care and monitoring of the local environment before during and after the rally.

“The 2014 event will build on the success of this year’s event, which was estimated to attract more than 13,000 visitors to the Coffs Coast, generating more than 64,000 visitor nights and injecting around $9 million in visitor expenditure into the local economy,” Mr Fraser said.

Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said: “We are fortunate to stage the WRC event in a coastal region of New South Wales, with uniquely-beautiful natural features. Comprehensive environmental measures had to be fundamental to our event plan.

“Being able to host Rally Australia in a sustainable way ensures there are no environmental obstacles to the WRC returning to the Coffs Coast year after year.”

According to FIA, The Environmental Accreditation Scheme is a targeted programme to improve sustainability across motor sport worldwide. It offers incentives for motor sports organisations to advance their environmental performance. The FIA and FIA Institute will continue to collaborate in this area to ensure improvements in the sustainability of motor sport around the world.

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.