Rally's future in Nambucca Shire called into question

The future of the Nambucca Shire’s participation in the 2017 World Rally Championship could be called into question as the council seeks to recoup road damages in excess of $150,000.

At their council meeting on Thursday the General Manager, Michael Coulter, told councillors that at a recent meeting with council representatives, Rally Australia had offered to forward spend $20,000 from their 2017 budget to help cover the incurred costs.

“We have already spent $98,000 on repairing roads,” Mr Coulter said.

“This offer brings the total they’ve given us to $40,000 … we had hoped to get closer to $90,000 (the invoice sent was for $156,242).

“We will now make representations to Destination NSW and the Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, to see if we can get some recompense that way … we don’t want to take money off Rally Australia.”

Cr Anne Smyth clarified that Rally Australia’s most recent offer meant there was nothing left in the coffers to pay for damages from the 2017 event.

Cr Rhonda Hoban said that was correct.

“If this is not sorted out, the conduct of the rally may come into question,” Cr Hoban said.

She said an inquiry about how much funding the rally actually received was not answered as it was deemed ‘commercial-in-confidence’.

In June last year Coffs Harbour City councillor Sally Townley also asked for details of the “large but secret amount invested (by the council) on the ratepayers' behalf” in the event. She was told it was commercial-in-confidence.

The value of the event to the area is estimated to be around $13 million.