Where council’s $900k gift to Rattler went last year
GYMPIE heritage tourist attraction, the Mary Valley Rattler, received $900,000 in financial support from the Gympie Regional Council last financial year.
The council’s latest annual report has revealed the train, operated by council subsidiary Rattler Railway Company, benefited from $805,000 in council grants and subsidies and another $95,000 in goods and services, which included catering and promotion.
The largest slice of the pie was taken up by $340,000 of operating grants.
MORE GYMPIE NEWS
- Fearless mum defeats armed, hooded man in dead of night
- Gympie’s unemployment spikes to five year high
Another $299,000 was paid as a grant for refurbishment of the line’s sleepers.
The council also donated rolling stock valued at $116,000, and waived a $50,000 repayment of the interest-free $1.1 million loan to the Rattler in 2018-19.
Full repayment of the loan is to be made by December 31, 2030.
At June 30 the RRC still owed $1 million.
The council also prepaid $300,000 in 2020-21 capital works funding to the RRC.
The support comes amid ongoing questions about the financial sustainability of the train, which has reported hundreds of thousands in operational losses since it was resurrected.
The train has yet to run uninterrupted for a full financial year owing to continued delays in the council’s restoration work in 2018, and COVID-19 this year.
The council’s annual report said the pandemic’s effect on the train’s financials was minimal as
“revenue foregone from inability to operate is offset by reduction of associated operating expenses, so that the pandemic has not had a reportable effect”.
Rattler vice chairman Garry Davison said in June the train had made internal changes to “allow us to operate far more effectively than we have in the past”.
The Rattler is running with the support of a letter of comfort from the council which expires June 30, 2022.
Rattler general manager Micheal Green has been contacted for comment and has indicated he will give a response this week.