Rattler review date revealed, mayor stands by business plan
BRISBANE-BASED project group Ranbury has been named as the company who will review the troubled and turbulent return of the Rattler, which has been plagued by multiple multi-million dollar blow outs and delays.
The report, which will be presented to Gympie Region Councillors in September, will explore what caused the project's initial $10.8 million budget to balloon out to $17.5 million.
While the council's April 26, 2018 meeting minutes said the review would be conducted "with a report to council by July", a council spokeswoman said this information was incorrect.
The four month time frame took into account the required procurement and tender processes.
Mayor Mick Curran said that although the project was over budget, he stood by its sustainability.
"The capital has gone out, but the business case is still solid," he said.
"I've seen the RRC (Rattler Railway Company) numbers... I have no concerns of what those numbers represent and how good a job the RRC will do in providing that tourism business for the whole of the region." Asked whether those numbers could be presented for the public to see, Cr Curran said that "was an issue for the RRC".
"But it will be profitable."
He said the economic benefit to the region could not be ignored in the debate, either.
"You can see the visitation to the station now; the RRC is getting an enormous amount of call from within the tourism industry," Cr Curran said.
"They're absolutely sweating on a date for the train to start and I firmly believe it will be a great thing for the whole region.
"To be fair... my head's on the chopping block with it, but this has been a long process since day one that the train stopped running.
"It took us near on two years to get the State funding, and there were conditions around that."