BREAKING: Infamous Rattler report given to council years ago
THE hunt for answers to old questions has stirred up even more questions after it was revealed this week Gympie council was delivered a copy of the elusive Rattler report two years ago.
In response to questions about whether the council had ever been sent a copy of the long-delayed document, CEO Shane Gray yesterday confirmed an apparently completed copy of the report was uncovered within the council's records.
"I requested a search of council records and recovered a final draft of the report written in September 2018, commissioned from Ranbury Project Management Group," Mr Gray said.
"This draft report will be taken to a future council meeting for consideration."
Ranbury was commissioned to write a report into what caused the multimillion-dollar blowouts and month-long delays during the council's efforts to resurrect the heritage train.
The council announced it was seeking an independent report in April 2018, following significant delays to the project.
That report was initially due to be delivered in July 2018, but Ranbury was only awarded the $25,000 contract that month, and delivery got pushed back two months to September.
When the report still had not surfaced by the following January, then-councillor Glen Hartwig asked for it to be released to councillors "for their perusal on a confidential basis".
The staff report accompanying Mr Hartwig's motion said "work on the report had been put in abeyance" because of a legal matter and "the report will not be complete for some time".
Then-CEO Bernard Smith told councillors the report was "about 60 per cent done".
The motion to let councillors see it was defeated in a 4-5 vote.
More than a year later, councillor Hilary Smerdon asked for the report to be released confidentially.
The accompanying staff report to his request repeated that work on the report had been suspended due to the outstanding legal matter and "once that matter is finalised the preparation of the report can recommence".
This motion was also defeated by one vote.
Legal proceedings do not appear to have ever been formally lodged over the issue in question.
The release of the report was part of Mr Hartwig's successful campaign for mayor.
Asked about Mr Gray's statement yesterday, Mr Hartwig said he looked forward to the matter being put before the councillors.
"We were of the firm belief it existed," Mr Hartwig said.
"I look forward to it coming to the council and the councillors for their consideration of its release.
"It's disappointing it could not be released in 2018, when the final draft was apparently submitted.
"There would be lots of points we could have learned from this failed project to save the ratepayers' funds in 2019 and 2020 but that opportunity was delayed."