Mayor hails Rattler report forecasting $10m economic boon
THE return of the Mary Valley Rattler has brought good news, with a new report revealing the controversial heritage venture has delivered an ongoing $10 million boost to the Gympie region.
The independently commissioned report states the venture has generated 74 on-going jobs in the region, and a $5.1 million ongoing value-ad.
The report was compiled by Earthcheck, which assembled the Rattler's 2016 Business Case.
It reveals the average spend outside the Rattler's precincts for each party was $245, creating an estimated $2.9 million expenditure in the region in the 2019-20 financial year.
The Rattler itself is expected to generate $2.3 million in revenue.
Food outlets were the biggest winners of this outside spend, accounting for 32 per cent of this economic pie.
Accommodation was second at 28 per cent, and transport took up another 24 per cent.
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Other expenses like entertainment and shopping got the remaining slice at 16 per cent.
Ticket sales in 2019-20 forecast are estimated at more than 34,000.
It found 75 per cent of customers surveyed said they came to Gympie to visit the Rattler, 82 per cent of visitors were from outside the region, and 90 per cent said they would come back for the train again.
"Quite simply the Rattler's benefit to this region is now quantified and we can see in plain numbers what the operation is worth to the community,” Mayor Mick Curran said.
This impact included the use of 70 local suppliers in July.
"The fact is this project has created jobs, stimulated our economy and ensured the region has a significant tourism product that sets us apart from the rest of our competitors in southeast Queensland.”
Division 2 councillor and mayoral candidate Glen Hartwig said the numbers should be good news for the Mary Valley.
"If these figures are legitimate and rock solid then I look forward with excitement for the mayor's commitment to run the train all the way to Imbil,” he said.
"Amamoor was always the least profitable option, and Imbil the most profitable.”
"If he doesn't commit... it certainly raises questions about the figures.”
There is also no movement on the long-awaited review into what caused the multi-million blow outs during the train's return.
Cr Curran said this report is still being held in "abeyance” amid questions over the quality of the original track and structure specification reports.
This was first flagged by the council in October 2017.
"There's legal action being taken at the moment, of which I cannot talk about,” he said.