Mary Valley Rattler GM Micheal Green has defended the train’s success in the face of criticism.
Mary Valley Rattler GM Micheal Green has defended the train’s success in the face of criticism.

‘Right Rattler info must be in the public eye’

Important right Rattler info in public eye

A RECENT Letter to the Editor in relation to the Mary Valley Rattler (Gympie Times , January 4) was not factually correct. It is important that the right information is being presented to our local community.

As detailed in the 2018/2019 Annual Report, there is the equivalent of 23 full-time employees employed to run our multifaceted tourism operation.

This includes the resourcing of a cafe, retail shop, tour desk, workshop, track maintenance and an administration team.

Providing employment opportunities improves the local economy and provides locals with a job.

At the Rattler 90 per cent of the staff are Gympie Regional Council residents.

We pride ourselves on the delivery of an exceptional guest experience. Thanks to our valued volunteers and staff we must be getting it right as we are seeing great guest reviews across all of our review sites and feedback forms.

As a tourism organisation, our busiest operating times are over holiday periods including public holidays and weekends. Most of our staff are award-based employees as we shift our employment strategy from salary positions to an award-based remuneration model.

Our employees are covered by the Amusement Events and Recreation Award (2010).

We endeavour to provide a flexible working environment to allow our staff to meet family obligations and other personal commitments.

We have welcomed long-term unemployed staff into the team with opportunities made available to them for training and upskilling.

Valley Rattler Twilight run
Valley Rattler Twilight run

It was never considered that the Rattler would be a huge profit-generating operation.

However the operation is already delivering positive economic benefit for the Gympie region (refer to Snapshot of Economic Impact Study housed in latest news

No tourism attraction of this size would be expected to turn a profit in its first year of operation. In fact the 2018/2019 audited financial report only represents 8 and ½ months of operational train revenue.

We will – naturally – be doing our best to grow revenue and streamline costs, but in the interim the tourism and general community should see the Mary Valley Rattler as a priceless asset that will deliver long-lasting benefits to the Gympie region.

Mike Green, Mary Valley Rattler General Manager

People think their voice has no value to council

IN A world where we are being encouraged to “have a say”, it is sad to think that people don’t think their voice holds any value. In my recent chats with people in the region, a common thread that I hear is “what’s the point, we aren’t listened to anyway”.

Unfortunately, it sometimes appears to be that way … but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t speak up.

Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller

The world is full of events in history that document change through movements started by one voice. A wonderful example is the suffragette movement, which ultimately resulted in women being granted the right to vote. One voice can be strong, but collectively, many voices are powerful.

I recently saw statistics that stated in the lead-up the 2016 local Council elections, 52 per cent of the electors could not tell you what division they were in, and 59 per cent of the electors could not provide the name of just one candidate.

If this is true, it makes me incredibly sad.

Gympie’s divisional map.
Gympie’s divisional map.

Through voting you are, in fact, having a say in how you would like to see the future of the region shaped. Become empowered and use your voice to start conversations, be informed of who is running and what they stand for. It is important to be vigilant when placing people in positions of power.

Remember, your voice matters and your opinion should be valued – just because we are one voice doesn’t mean we’re alone.

You can check which division you are in

Colleen Miller, Candidate for Division 3

Religious freedom bill contrary to religious freedom

THE Federal Government is proposing religious discrimination legislation. On reading the legislation it appears to increase power of institutions at the cost of individuals.

The religious freedom of individuals will be reduced. The Bill is contrary to non-discrimination legislation that seeks to protect the freedom of individuals in relation to institutions, and to protect vulnerable persons.

Organisations that are often subsidised by us taxpayers will be able to discriminate against the best qualified and most competent doctors, nurses and teachers because of the religious beliefs of the individuals. Will such organisations be truthful in advertising and clearly state they may not have employed the most competent people for religious reasons!

Dan Stewart.
Dan Stewart.

As the recent royal commission into sexual abuse of children showed, religious organisations are not necessarily trustworthy. Be wary about giving any organisation special privileges.

The religious freedom of children needs to be protected by not allowing school discipline, based on the child’s religious belief or self-identity, which may change over time.

If a person goes to a place of worship such as a church or mosque, then they can expect to be preached to. However, religious freedom needs to provide for being respected when they say no to preaching in other places, such as soup kitchens for the homeless. If the freedom of religion of a medical practitioner is to take priority over the freedom of religion of a patient, then that medical practitioner needs to be required to refer the patient to an easily available medical practitioner who will meet the patient’s needs. In fact, the religious discrimination bill is contrary to professionalism. A professional will address the needs of the client regardless of beliefs or feelings.

The Religious Discrimination Bill is contrary to religious freedom. It privileges institutions over individuals and needs to be opposed.

Dan Stewart, Councillor Division 5

Gympie Times

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