COVID has not kept the Rattler from recording its first operational surplus since its return to the tracks in 2018.
COVID has not kept the Rattler from recording its first operational surplus since its return to the tracks in 2018.

Rattler records first profit since its return to the tracks

THE Mary Valley Rattler has weathered the COVID storm to record its first operational surplus since returning to the tracks.
The Rattler’s financial report for 2019-20 has revealed the heritage train made $221,000 throughout the financial year, a significant turnaround from the $549,000 deficit recorded the year before.

A big part of this jump was thanks to a $124,000 increase in income from ticket sales, which topped $1.05m for the year.

A significant $370,000 came from “other income”.

Of this, $141,000 came from JobKeeper, while another including $174,000 was accounted in contributed assets, $23,000 in rental income and $13,000 from charitable income and fundraising.

The surplus has reduced the Rattler Railway Company’s net liability position to $663,000, from $884,000.

The RRC’s ability to continue remains in question, and is dependent on a letter of comfort from Gympie Regional Council and its ability to generate future profits.

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The letter of comfort remains in place until mid-2022.

The train’s net liability position means its ability to keep running is dependent on support from Gympie Regional Council.
The train’s net liability position means its ability to keep running is dependent on support from Gympie Regional Council.

This year’s report does not identify the Rattler Railway Company as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the council, like it did in previous years.

On the subject of ownership, this year’s report says the RRC “does not consider that its relationship with Gympie Regional Council meets the definition of being wholly owned”.

“Furthermore, the company considers that its constitution excludes any member from the regular definition of ownership.”

The company’s ownership has been under a cloud following a ruling from the Australian Taxation Office it was not owned by the council, despite years of claims otherwise.

Unlike previous years, the latest report does not identify the council as fully owning the rattler Railway Company amid confusion over its ownership and structure. Picture: Shane Zahner
Unlike previous years, the latest report does not identify the council as fully owning the rattler Railway Company amid confusion over its ownership and structure. Picture: Shane Zahner

The report identifies six members, five more than was noted in the reports from 2017-19.

Since July 1 this year, the RRC has received $150,000 in support from the council, $50,000 as a waiver on the company’s $1.1m loan from the council.

The remaining $100,000 was paid in cash.

The Rattler’s employment costs continued to hover just below the $1.5m mark

Cafe and retail sales were down more than $180,000 owing to the impact of COVID-19 and the forced shuttering of the Rattler’s retail outlets for a time.

Gympie Times


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