PHOTO: British driver Elfyn Evans and his Ford Fiesta RS make a spectacular sight on last year’s Rally Australia stages (Jeremy Rogers pic)
RALLY Australia will pay almost $13,000 for remediation of roads used on last year’s FIA World Rally Championship event.
Payment to grade gravel road sections and replace plastic guide posts in Nambucca Shire was agreed in principle in a meeting between the rally and the shire council early last December and paid after an invoice was received this week.
Nambucca is the only area in which closed shire roads are used for the rally, which showcases the Coffs Coast to a global television audience estimated at more than 68 million households.
Rally Australia Senior Executive Office Wayne Kenny said the rally’s response was in line with its policy to be always a responsible corporate citizen.
“We understand the council’s need to meet its obligations and are happy to agree to its request. We’re always alert to how the rally may affect the community and take the professional conduct of our world championship event very seriously,” he said.
Mr Kenny said the rally’s community relations manager was constantly engaged with residents and businesses to discuss potential impacts and how these could be mitigated.
“Usually the response runs to medical contingencies, washing houses, providing tankwater filters, building fences and other similar measures, but we were happy to accept the council’s claim.
“We’ve had very few issues over the years, as a result of this pro-active approach. And alongside this, we’ve implemented an award-winning, first-in-the-world environmental strategy to protect the areas through which competitors and spectators travel.”
Mr Kenny said all cars in the rally, including those from overseas, carried compulsory third-party insurance (CTP), as well as third-party property cover included with the event’s overall $100 million insurance provided under its operating permit.
“Rally Australia takes responsibility for the roads in Nambucca and elsewhere while they are closed for our use – less than 24 hours in each section we compete on – but when they are open, authority reverts as normal to the police and other agencies,” Mr Kenny said.
“At all times, competition cars are live-tracked by GPS and we react instantly to any incident by implementing a strict set procedure. During reconnaissance, when the roads are open, rally crews must observe the usual road rules and any incident becomes a police matter in the normal way.
“However, the rally organisers also respond to assist the parties involved. I understand there are no outstanding claims after our 2015 event.”