Economic Issues

  • Inflation of estimated economic returns

  • No consideration of real costs

  • Potential damage to growing eco-tourism industry

  • Inconsistency of this event with the recognition of the importance of eco-tourism and nature-based tourism as the key priority in economic development for the area.

  • State government using taxpayer dollars to support event (150 police provided free of charge)

    EcoTourism          VS       TAXPAYER dollars        Tweed/Kyogle to share
    $1.1 BILLION per year                    $?                       $11 million per rally  
    In 2007, according to figures from Tourism Australia, domestic and overseas tourist contributed $1.1 BILLION to the Northern Rivers Economy, and the bulk of those visitors participated in nature-based experiences.  The Tweed Economic Development Corporation estimated that the Gross Regional Product (the sum total of all goods and services produced in the region) for the Tweed Shire alone was $1.36 BILLION in 2005-06.  Against this existing economic picture the report predicts $10.96 million additional contribution to the Tweed and Kyogle areas combined as a result of the rally.   The Tweed Shire would most likely see about $7 million (two-thirds) of this.  This is pretty close to what the government would be contributing in direct and indirect support for the rally.  That means, for the government, it is a worse return on investment than existed in Western Australia when that government withdrew support for the event in 2005. (They at least got $1.60 for each $1 invested!)

    Who will be paying?

    Certainly not the private company, owned by CAMS, set up to organise the event!  It will once again be the long suffering NSW taxpayers who will foot the bill.  Not only is the state government supporting the rally with words, they are putting our taxpayers money into.  So far they have donated several million dollars to Repco Rally Australia to assist them to stage the event.
    At the same time, through the NSW Premier's Department, they are co-ordinating a "whole of government" support effort costing who knows how much.  Who is paying the salaries, travel and accommodation expenses of these bureaucrats?  Certainly not the organisers of the rally!

    Particularly insulting to the Tweed locals is the fact that at the same time that the NSW government is pumping millions into supporting this outdated and environmentally destructive 'sport' they are ripping millions out of the North Coast Health Services, at the cost of hundreds of jobs, and downgrading the Murwillumbah hospital.

Police are being provided free of charge (as is support from all other government departments because it has been declared a "Hallmark Event").  The Police Local Area Commander advised in May that 150 police working a mix of 10 and 12 hour shifts would be brought into the area for the 3 days the event is planned to run.
The provision of police at no-cost to the organisers was confirmed by Superintendant Micheal Kenny, Tweed-Byron LAC Commander on 14 May 2009 in a meeting with two members of the No Rally Group.
If a member of the public or any other organisation wanted to hire a police officer for an event it would cost a bit ovber $85 per hour per officer.
That adds up to about $400 000 in policing costs alone - and that does not include their transport, accommodation or meals!  Add in the costs associated with Ambulances, other health services, RTA, NPWS, fire brigades, Rural Fire Service, SES and so the list goes on.

Rally organisers have dangled the twin carrots of economic benefits and local jobs in front of the businesses in the area.  The jobs involved amount to 5 days of casual work every two years, predominantly in the form of overtime for current employees - hardly real jobs!  No permanent full-time jobs for the area have been identified as flowing directly from the rally.

They have also presented a rosy economic picture of millions of dollars flowing into the Tweed and Kyogle areas from accommodation and food purchases.  Strange that they don't make mention of research paid for but that industry that showed that at similar events in 2007 more than 1/3 of attendees did not pay for accommodation.  Given the proximity of the race to the main target market (young Gold Coast males)  it is likely they will bring their own food and go home at night.  Why would Gold Coast residents pay for accommodation in the Tweed or Kyogle when they live at most 60 minutes from the most remote rally stage?

It is also strange that they don't acknowledge the real costs involved - but then in the finest traditions of rural NSW politics they are privatising and socialising the costs.  If they are not directly paying the costs then 'those costs don't count' seems to be the logic.

Rally organisers have not taken into account the impact of either the global economic crises of the Swine Flu pandemic on attendances, and therefore income.

The organisers of the rally leg in Finland (which immediately precedes the Australian leg) have revised their anticipated attendance figures and imposed a 40% cut to their budget as a result of these factors.

Why are those factors not relevant here in Australia? Are the organisers holding this in reserve as an excuse after the rally fails to attract the predicted economic benefits?


  • The report does not consider the real costs of the event including direct financial support and in-kind support from both state and local government (taxpayer/ratepayer money).  This support is estimated at approximately $7 million.

  • The report does not consider the potential impact on existing (growing) tourist market based on eco tourism and nature tourism.

  • No evidence is provided for the estimates of full time and casual jobs it claims will be created other than a blanket claim of using "industry multipliers"  Other reports speak about the unique nature of this event and the fact that standard predictive measures are not applicable.  Similar qualifying statements are absent from this report.

  • The report gives no references to support its calculations of economic impacts.

  • The report fails to consider existing research casting doubts on the economic benefits of such events.  The organisers commissioned an "Economic Impact Assessment" rather than a cost-benefit analysis.  There is a considerable body of academic papers criticising this approach as inadequate in considering the real cost of such events.