Rally Australia has become the first motorsport event in the world to achieve the top level of accreditation from the FIA Institute's sustainability programme, it has been confirmed.

The event was awarded with Achievement of Excellence - the best of three levels in the Environmental Certification Framework.

Coates Hire Rally Australia, round ten of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, was staged on the New South Wales Coffs Coast back in September. The event will return to the Coffs Coast next year.

FIA Institute President Gerard Saillant said: "I congratulate Rally Australia and the organising team behind it on this important achievement. We look forward to continued collaboration and to helping them achieve future environmental objectives."

Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford added: "Rally Australia is extremely proud to be recognised by the FIA Institute.

"We are fortunate to stage the WRC event in a coastal region of New South Wales, with uniquely-beautiful natural features and a rich array of native flora and fauna and therefore comprehensive environmental measures had to be fundamental to our event plan.

"Being able to host Rally Australia in a sustainable way ensures there are no environmental obstacles to the WRC returning year after year."

In 2009, the event turned around negative perceptions of the environmental effects of the rallying and has increased support from government and locals. This was achieved by developing a culture and direction within all aspects of the event.

Rally Australia Sustainability and Environment Manager Colin Trinder developed a comprehensive environmental policy as well as management and assessment tools. The net effect of these measures in 2013 ensured that there were no environmental incidents.

Community members, spectators and competitors were encouraged to follow environmentally-friendly practices throughout the event and a programme is in place to achieve total carbon neutrality by the end of 2013.

The FIA Institute assessment team noted a strong environmental commitment throughout the organisation, from board-level and senior management, to marshals, stewards and volunteers. The event showed that it is planned and executed to ensure a high level of environmental performance, demonstrating the strong commitment to sustainability. There was also a range of impressive documentation available, such as a separate Sustainability and Environmental protection manual for marshals.

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