Mayor rebukes Perrett, reminds him of his own Rattler ties
GYMPIE Regional Mayor Mick Curran has hit back at criticism of the Rattler blowouts by Gympie MP Tony Perrett, saying the former councillor strongly supported the project when he was acting mayor of the council, and was until recently a director on the Rattler board.
"I find it disappointing that Mr Perrett now seems to be abandoning his strong support for the project when he was Gympie Regional Council's 'Acting Mayor' and a Rattler Holding Board Director until recently," Cr Curran said.
"Mr Perrett also strongly criticised the state government only two years ago for not funding the project."
Cr Curran said the Rattler project would not only be a major tourism draw card but also an economic driver for the region "as previously stated by Mr Perrett".
"It's fair that he has his concerns," he said of Mr Perretts recent statements.
"Council is also disappointed and this is why we are getting a comprehensive legal review of the specifications, and commissioning an in-depth independent review of the project management.
"Mr Perrett has not contacted myself or Council to discuss or to talk about how he can support such a great community project.
"Maybe it's time for Mr Perrett to come out and say if he supports the project or not.
"Sitting on the fence and criticising everyone involved doesn't help.
"I, for one, will be at the station (on Saturday) from 10am to welcome the locomotive and show strong support for the Rattler's volunteers, board and other community groups who have, in the majority, worked tirelessly to get the Rattler project up and running," Cr Curran said.
THE State Labor Government's oversight of the spending on the Rattler is now under scrutiny with the latest cost blow out.
Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett, said the monitoring of the use of Queensland taxpayers' money on the revitalisation of the Mary Valley Rattler will be clearer next month.
"I have asked whether the Government will be conducting a full audit of the project. *
"Given that this project would not have been given legitimacy if the State Government didn't first put up taxpayers' money I am concerned at what probity checks have been made" Mr Perrett said.
"This week I have tabled a list of questions in the parliament on what and how much the State Government knew, and whether it has sought an update on a revised estimate of total costs.
"The Government has 30 days to respond and then we will have a clearer picture of how much oversight it applied to a project which has blown out from $10.8 million to $17.5 million.
"At the moment Gympie locals are in the dark about so many issues regarding this project and it is time that we are given transparency.
"This project should have been completed by November last year, it was then pushed out to Easter, and now we are told to wait until June.
"It is important to know what guarantees the Government has now sought from the GRC that it will be completed.
"Given that the investment of $4.7million of Queensland taxpayers' funds was conditional on the Gympie Regional Council meeting a number of criteria and providing regular updates alarm bells should have been ringing in Brisbane that something is seriously wrong.
"Under the terms of the Works for Queensland program (W4Q) the council would have had to apply for an extension to the completion date and should have been providing monthly updates on costs and overruns to the government.
"The Deputy Premier unconditionally committed the taxpayers' money last year within a three day turnaround from application by the GRC.
"This was after the State Government developed the project's business case and the project was previously rejected for funding under the Building Our Regions program.
"It is important to know just what probity checks the Government has undertaken.
"I have also asked what guarantees it has sought that this project meets the value for money practices as specified in the W4Q program.
"The taxpayers' contribution of $4.7 million under the W4Q program was to support 22 jobs we also need to know just how many full time jobs is the project now predicted to support."