LETTER OF THE DAY: What's happening at the Rattler?
A COUPLE of years ago it seemed like David Gibson had saved the historic steam train with a Queensland government grant of $2 million for the track and a later grant of $600,000 for work on the steam engine. Committees were formed and all went quiet. Most people thought the committees and the process should be left to solve the problems.
But nothing happened - or there seemed to be a process but no result.
Two years have gone by and the Queensland government did not deliver on the promise.
A Labor government gets elected. Quite correctly, the Gympie Regional Council and the member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, write to the new government pointing out the need for the funding.
But before the government can consider anything much, or make any inquiries, the committee who are meant to be running the Rattler decide they are going to shut out the volunteers until they get the money that was promised, but not delivered, by a previous government.
The volunteers in the workshop want to repair the boiler of one engine and are working out how to get $600 to pay for cranes to lift the boiler out of the engine.
Now they are locked out of the workshop and are very unhappy.
Evidently they were locked out to put pressure on the Queensland Government to pay the money. They are damaging the volunteer workers and the chances of eventually having a coherent volunteer workforce in an attempt to coerce the government.
It is ridiculous.
No government will respond well to that sort of threat.
The committee also undermines the efforts of Tony Perrett and the council.
There are excellent reasons why the government should support the Rattler and I am sure that these reasons were in the letters.
But the committee evidently thinks that these reasons are not enough.
So they try to apply a pressure.
That is how the government would see it.
This may be a reason to refuse the request.
It is also bizarre that people are looking for a "conduit" to the Labor Party and suggest Cr Gate.
There is a Labor Party in Gympie and the candidate at the last election, Stephen Meredith, expressed a view that he supported the Rattler. We all should try to keep this Gympie icon and the more voices supporting it, the better.
But the suggestion that there needs to be a special Labor link to justify it is wrong.
As far as I can judge, we all support the Rattler.
The worst feature of the committee's decision to lock out the volunteers is that it looks like an attack on the Labor government.
For over two years for whatever reason, the LNP government did not deliver on its promise.
Now, after a month, with no real chance to consider the letters or the matter, the Labor government is told to deliver or the committee will keep its volunteers locked out. The committee seems to be acting in an arrogant and petulant way.