Mick Curran wants federal election candidates to pledge funds for the Rattler
MILLIONS of dollars in federal funding is needed to help secure the Mary Valley Rattler’s future.
The State Government has committed $2.6 million but won’t hand it over until it’s happy with the business plan for the Rattler. The Gympie Regional Council has pledged an amount but won’t officially say how much.
To meet the requirements of a business plan the State Government would be happy with, the Rattler revival project needs a total of $10.8 million.
Without some significant federal support such a sum of money will be hard to come up with.
Mayor Mick Curran want Wide Bay election candidates to pledge to allocate those federal funds should they be elected.
Cr Curran said the GRC and State Government had demonstrated commitment to the Rattler with funding and now it was time for the Federal Government to do the same.
“The Rattler is a major tourism and rail heritage icon not just for Gympie, but for the wider south-east Queensland region and it should be funded jointly by all levels of government,” he said.
“With Queensland shaping up to be the key state of contest, the federal candidates should realise the importance of getting the Rattler operational again and reaching its full potential, as a tourism attraction, economic driver and heritage draw card.
“Subsequent to the closing of the Valley Rattler’s operations in April 2012, a governance structure was implemented that reshaped and refocused the Rattler from a heritage railway enthusiast venture to a regional tourism attraction run as a business to generate ongoing economic benefits for the Gympie region.
“However, the issue of asset management was identified as a major roadblock to the ongoing operations of the Valley Rattler.
“This will only be resolved through significant capital investment in the replacement of track sleepers, crossings, remediation of the existing bridges, rolling stock and station infrastructure as part of the project funding, for which we need federal input.”
A business case for revitalising the Rattler details the funding requirements of these activities.
The business case indicates that the preferred option regarding the Valley Rattler’s operations is to implement a trip running from Gympie to Amamoor and return.
This option requires $10.8 million upfront investment.
The Gympie Times has asked for that pledge from main players Llew O’Brien (LNP) and Lucy Stanton (Labor) but as of the close of business on Wednesday, had not reply.