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Rally Australia council funding wrangle solved

Gordon Lomas

Friday 29th April, 2016 - 8:54am

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The Coffs Harbour City Council has reversed its original decision and will continue financial support for the WRC event in 2016 and 2017

The Coffs Harbour City Council has reversed its original decision and will continue financial support for the WRC event in 2016 and 2017

A decision to originally block funding for Rally Australia has been overturned in a decisive show of support from the Coffs Harbour City Council.

At a special meeting last night, the council voted 6-2 in favour of continuing its funding for the World Rally Championship round for the next two years.

Coffs Harbour will host the final leg this year from November 17-20 after it had been staged in September in previous years.

The council sent the event into a tailspin last week when it lodged a 4-2 against continuing financial support amid what it cited as a conflict of interest.

The reversal of the decision will now see organisers redouble their effort to ensure that the 2016 WRC finale will be the most successful since the round was made an annual event at the Coffs Coast location from 2013.

“There are now just over 200 days until Kennards Hire Rally Australia on 17-20 November and with this brief hiatus behind us we’re clear to put the throttle down on planning and organisation for what will be our best event yet,” Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford said.

“We’ll do so with the strongest possible demonstration of support from the Coffs Coast community, which spoke out against the original decision and turned out in big number last night to see its will acknowledged.

“A Coffs Coast 2016 rally would have gone ahead whatever the vote, as we have other key supporters including the New South Wales government and commercial sponsors.

“But almost nothing is more important than this community support and its emergence like never before is the silver lining in this matter. We’ve actually gained from it.”

Mr Rainsford said Rally Australia’s stable financial position and all-round support would assist negotiations begun recently with WRC authorities to host rounds in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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