Rally Australia to relocate WRC if council isn't on board
RALLY Australia has put an ultimatum to Coffs Harbour City Council, either offer continued support of its WRC event on the Coffs Coast or the event will find a home elsewhere in New South Wales.
Rally Australia issued a lengthy statement this afternoon, after Coffs Harbour City councillors last Thursday voted not to support a motion that involved continued sponsorship of the event.
"Rally Australia acknowledges and respects the due process involved in decisions of the Coffs Harbour City Council, but views with great concern the vote by members last Thursday to not support the FIA World Rally Championship event in 2016 and 2017," Rally Australia stated.
"Such a decision, should it stand after a fresh vote on the issue is taken at the next meeting on April 28, would deny the city and regional community the substantial benefits of hosting one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the world.
"We believe any responsible decision on the council's involvement should not fail to take into account factors such as an overall annual economic benefit calculated at $13.8 million, a direct boost to tourism plus inestimable worldwide tourism promotion and the many local employment opportunities generated by the rally.
The motorsport body said it was hopeful all nine councillors at the next meeting would act on the support shown for Rally Australia in the local community since the shock decision and vote accordingly on a recission motion that will be tabled by Cr Keith Rhoades.
Do you think Coffs Harbour City Council gets value for money from its sponsorship of Rally Australia?
This poll ended on 20 April 2016.
I'd like to see the Rally Australia in Coffs Harbour but I don't think Council should sponsor it.
No, I think Council's money could be better spent.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Rally Australia has attracted thousands of international and Australian visitors, directly benefiting accommodation houses, restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations, transport providers and many other businesses," Rally Australia stated.
"Daily dedicated television coverage showcases the region's attractions, in 2015 reaching a measured 68 million viewers around the world," the motorsport body said.
"The Coffs Coast can be proud of its standing on the world stage.
"It has distinguished itself by the warmth of its welcome to visitors, especially from overseas.
"Rally Australia, which is based in Coffs Harbour and employs local staff and suppliers, has won a reputation as one of the best organised and presented events among the 14 countries visited by the WRC.
"These achievements and the evidence of stable support have ensured Rally Australia and the Coffs Coast a place in the World Rally Championship for 2016 and 2017.
Rally Australia said it has begun negotiations to extend its participation on the WRC calendar to at least 2020.
"It is essential that all parties on the Coffs Coast continue to present a strong appeal to the WRC.
"The only alternative would be for Rally Australia to find a new home in NSW," it concluded.