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Tweed Shire Mayor ignores anti-Rally correspondence

On 21st May I wrote the following email to Mayor Joan van Lieshout:

Dear Joan

I read in a local paper recently that you have not yet made up your mind about the Repco Rally.

Perhaps you may like to consider that the councils of Auburn, Parramatta and Ryde have all rejected a similar race in their area (see (25K) )

You can read more on this race here:-

It seems to me the Tweed Shire would have even more reasons to reject it as there are

a) more endangered species to protect (especially as it's in breeding season)
b) more of an eco-tourism reputation to protect
c) more rural residents likely to be negatively impacted as the course is much longer

On the subject of economic benefits, I am attaching a 35 page document which is a literary review titled Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidies for Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events? by Dennis Coates and Brad R. Humphreys
It analyses benefits of subsidising sport franchises in terms of economic benefits (jobs, income, tax revenue). In case you would prefer to read an abbreviated version I have also attached that (3 pages) - titled 'Survey Sports Benefits.'

The proponents, V8 Supercars Australia, also want a $30 million subsidy from taxpayers funds. Economic assessment of similar races in the ACT has shown significant negative economic results.

I think it's important to note that the benefits claimed by RRA are most likely to be hyperinflated. Their claim that it will 'showcase the Tweed' are also likely not to be true. I see only one picture of the Tweed Shire on the Repco website. Repco claims to be working with Landcare yet this is emphatically denied by Adam Heggie of Pumpenbil Landcare who has spoken to key members of landcare.

Repco claims to have interviewed local residents and that 85% support the rally. Where is the independent social survey? The vast majority of people I speak to are opposed to it. People have been flocking to sign petitions against this rally.

Please I encourage you to look more deeply into this. Things are not as rosy as they seem.

Thanking you,

Ten days later I wrote another letter:-

Dear Mayor Lieshout

To follow on from my speech on Biodiversity at community access last Thursday night, I thought you might like to see the following video (of a Western Australian program to preserver the Black Cockatoo).

Since two thirds of fauna in the Tweed Shire are threatened/endangered, why isn't a program like this one in West Australia happening here for all our at risk species?

Are we so far behind the times that we can't even see the importance of species protection? How else are we to remain on the iconic landscapes program if we lose our fauna?

Council has money to throw at an independent car rally, so why not something of far greater importance such as this?


So far no replies have been received to my emails from the Mayor. Perhaps biodiversity is not important enough a topic for her to be bothered paying attention to? Or maybe it's easier to stick her head in the sand or put this in the 'too hard' basket.

Some weeks ago in the Mayor's column of the Daily News, Mayor van Lieshout wrote in support of the opportunities for eco tourism in the region. Does she think she can have her cake and eat it too?

Apparently .... or maybe she just still hasn't made up her mind about the rally.

Since that time it looks like special legislation may soon be enacted taking the DA out of council's hands. Nevertheless, Tweed Council could still vehemently oppose the Repco rally as do Parramatta, Auburn and Ryde oppose the V8 rally. Or could it? With Mike Raynor, General Manager, on the board of Directors of Repco Rally Australia?

I have heard that Mayor Lieshout and Cr Katie Milne asked Raynor to step down from his position on the board but that unless the majority of Councillors agree, it won't happen.

Perhaps it's time to contact them?

Joan van Lieshout (Mayor) (p) (02)66702402 (e) jvanlieshout[AT]
Barry Longland (Dep. Mayor) (p) 0458 525 372 (e) blongland[AT]
Dot Holdom (p) 0437 037 069 (e) dholdom[AT]
Katie Milne (p) (07) 55909622 (e) kmilne[AT]
Warren Polglase (p) 0428 961 30 (e) wpolglase[AT]
Phil Youngblutt (p) (02) 6677 9323 (e) pyoungblutt[AT]
Kevin Skinner (p) (02) 6674 1660 (e) KSkinner[A]

On 13th August I contacted Mayor van Lieshout with a summary of the Ambrose Ecological report which was very damning of the Repco rally. It was deleted without being read on 9th September, 2009. This mayor accused Cr Milne of My understanding is that in the Code of Conduct councillors must reply to all mail. So far Cr Katie Milne and Cr Dot Holdom are the only ones who have ever replied to my mail.