Rattler trust wins support
AN INDEPENDENT community trust will oversee the Mary Valley Heritage Rail under a recovery plan devised by a special Gympie business advisory group.
The advisory group was put together last year by Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne and MP David Gibson in an effort to salvage the embattled tourist operation from serious issues of track safety, finances and in-fighting.
The plan was presented to the MVHR management committee last Saturday and Mr Gibson said it was well received.
It suggests a community trust be established to oversee the governance, management and revenue distribution of the MVHR management committee, elected on a role-based model for operations and maintenance.
The committee will hold a special general meeting in the near future to ratify the report.
Some changes to the committee could occur at that meeting.
Mr Gibson said the MVHR was hoping to soon secure State Government funding to tackle its track safety issues, and that once that was underway the focus would be on getting the train running again, at least to Amamoor.
"When the business advisory group was first established we had strong community support from many of our local business and community leaders who wanted to provide their expertise to help keep the Rattler operating - this plan is their work." Mr Gibson said.
"The Rattler Recovery Plan is a result of various meetings and a workshop with essential input from MVHR management and presents ways to address the challenges the MVHR currently faces.
"This recovery plan puts forward the option of a local community trust with a board of trustees to take on the strategic planning, leaving the MVHR to get on with the job of providing an outstanding rail experience for tourists."
Mr Gibson praised the committee for its willingness to consider and accept the recommendations made.
"I thank Tony Hallam as chairman and all members of the MVHR for their work in difficult circumstances and for their willingness to adopt a new management structure with a community board of trustees.
"I have now presented the recovery plan to the state department for their consideration of the funding assistance required for the track recovery work necessary.
"I recognise that the recent flood events place an additional burden on the State Budget but I am sure the Rattler Recovery Plan will get a fair consideration."
Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne said both community and government support was vital for the recovery plan to stand the test of time.
"It is essential that any recovery plan for the Rattler gains widespread public support, otherwise we are in danger of facing the same challenges again," Mayor Dyne said.
Mr Gibson and Mayor Dyne thanked all members of the Business Advisory Group for their assistance in developing the recovery plan over the past three months.