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Message from the Sea Lake Off Road Club
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Sunday, 21 April 2019
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The following is a release from the Sea Lake Off Road Club

re: Cancellation of 2019 Sea Lake Mallee Rally


The Sea Lake Off Road Club Inc. wish to advise the people of Sea Lake, our sponsors, the ARB Championship, AORRA and the many offroad participants that have supported our Mallee Rally in the past and into the future, of why we felt the need to cancel this year’s event.

2018 saw the organising committee of the Sea Lake Mallee Rally face quite a few hurdles to get the event run & won…..  The event was run under a ‘permit to potentially cause harm’ under the Aboriginal Heritage Act.  The last of our permits actually came through at 3pm on the Friday of the rally.  We vowed we were not going to do this to ourselves again, or risk the permits not coming through.  There have been many conversations and emails over the past 10 months but to no avail in getting the issues sorted.

As normal, SLORC submitted a permit application to Parks Victoria to run the 2019 Sea Lake Mallee Rally.  After quite some time, the SLORC received correspondence back from Parks Victoria & DELWP (Dept. of Environment Land Water & Planning) stating that “…no native vegetation is proposed to be removed and have assessed that the provision of consent for the event is a low impact activity under the Native Title Act 1993.  We are therefore prepared to provide consent to the event subject to compliance with the requirements of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.  To assess the application and identify the potential impacts on cultural values within the lake environs, AV and the Barengi Gadjin Land Council require a cultural heritage assessment of the track and areas impacted by the Mallee Rally, and assessment of the cultural values that may be impacted by the activity.  This information can then be used to apply for a Cultural Heritage Permit or Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the event…..”

As no government department funding was available it would be up to SLORC to find the money to fund this assessment/permit/plan.  Together with AASA (Australian Auto Sport Alliance) SLORC continued to lobby ministers and shadow ministers to no avail.  We are still awaiting any form of response from some and trying to make sense out of contradicting responses from others which seems to be the story of our path on this journey through a very complicated and frustrating legislation and intertwined government agencies.  The management of Lake Tyrrell is certainly not a straight forward one but one that the relevant governing agencies need to take responsibility & be accountable for!  47 years of an event deserves that right.

From the very onset of this issue the SLORC have requested a conversation with Traditional Owners to see if there is a way forward and solution that would appease both parties.  It has only been at the start of this month that we have received correspondence from some such parties wanting the same thing “they would like to discuss this matter openly with the Sea Lake Organising Committee to maintain relationships and have open and transparent communication”.  This appears to have been a result of Traditional Owners being advised, some 2 months later, of the letter that SLORC received from Parks & DELWP with the requirements for us to be successful with our application for permits.

SLORC will welcome this meeting and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that this takes place as it is what we have been trying to facilitate all the way through.  Unfortunately for us, even if this meeting was to take place immediately, we have found ourselves out of time to gain all of the permits required to run the event in 2019.  As stated at the start of this release, we were not prepared to put ourselves under the stress of not having permits until the Friday of the event again.  It was also a very risky move last year, to have everyone in Sea Lake, race-ready, as we still awaited permits.

We are aware that many of our competitors need to plan their trip to Sea Lake many weeks in advance, as well our local organisations needing to order supplies in advance. To wait any longer would put undue stress on everyone and detract from our event. It was felt to cancel now would be the best course of action for all concerned.   The impact the cancellation has on our community is somewhat immeasurable with huge losses to be felt through local and regionwide businesses as well as taking away MANY community groups major fundraiser for the year.  We are devastated but determined to follow it through, alongside the Traditional Owners, to find a way through any issues and complicated legislation to be back in 2020!!  We thank you all for your support and understanding through one of the hardest decisions we have had to make in the 47 year history of the Sea Lake Mallee Rally.

 

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