Town Hall
Town Hall Renee Pilcher

Council decision 'incomprehensible, inexcusable'


INTERESTING reading in The Gympie Times recently.

First there was last Saturday's banner headline "Big Spend, Big Result”, followed by the article "Rattler on right track” which extracted and quoted key points (all very positive) from an "...independently commissioned report”.

Immediately, one wondered which wealthy, altruistic and disinterested citizen would commission a report on the performance of our tourism icon.

But excited anticipation of some impartial reporting was extinguished by the very next paragraph.

The report was assembled by Earthcheck, which assembled the 2016 Business Case.

So the report, it turns out, is virtually an internal review or survey by a consultancy firm which has a vital interest in the results.

And, despite the Mayor's triumphant assertion that "...we can see in plain numbers what the operation is worth to the community” I am sure there are some, like me, who can't.

For example, the report claims that each "group of visitors " spent $245 outside Rattler precincts. Does that mean each family group, club or school group, bus load or trainload?

And "The Rattler itself is expected to earn $2.3 million”.

Is that clear annual profit, or gross takings from fares before the deduction of maintenance and running costs?

Rattler Railway Company Chairperson Ian McNicol and Mayor Mick Curran at the Rattler.
Rattler Railway Company chairperson Ian McNicol and Mayor Mick Curran at the Rattler. Scott Kovacevic

While the report appears to be good news for all of us investors in the Rattler, it would be good to hear from those businesses that have benefited directly from its revival - not necessarily in actual figures.

Then there was the extraordinary report of "a council car being used for a fish and chip run in Noosa”.

This article included the dubious defence by the ubiquitous "council spokeswoman” (despite the fact that we have an all-male council and a highly paid male CEO, all controversial issues appear to be addressed by a "council spokeswoman”).

She informed us that such cars are "..part of a salary package. Costs are covered by (the) council.”

Excuse me for asking, but doesn't that mean us, the ratepayers? And, in a display of condescension, the council spokeswoman urges the community " please treat council staff respectfully...”. A manners lesson for free!

Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Council Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald. Renee Albrecht

But the best read of all on Saturday was the Sherele Moody Opinion, "The deadly rhetoric of Alan Jones”.

Jones has long been the strident voice of "ugly Australia”and Moody is so right to call out his misogyny.

Sadly, we have a major social malignancy in Australian society and it is called "violence against women”.

Jones's urging his champion, the Prime Minister, to shove a sock down the throat of NZ PM Jacinda Ardern, is the act of the male bully when confronted with the courage, and often superior intelligence, of his female opposite.

Alan Jones and Ray Hadley broadcasting their show from the Orange Ex-Services Club ahead of this Saturday's by-election. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Alan Jones Jonathan Ng

Having won the Premiership it might be time for Morrison to review his coaching panel.

Finally, in Wednesday's paper there was the report of the incomprehensible decision by the council to refuse to cover the public liability insurance costs (some $600-$800) for the Gympie Pre-Muster Street Party.

Apparently, having found $200,000 for the Muster itself, it could not find another paltry thousand to give the battling Mary St traders a tiny nibble of the Muster cherry.

NO-BRAINER: How to get thousands of Muster fans into Gympie

And the Rattler is bringing us such riches!

Gympie Regional Council mayor Mick Curran said they're doing their best to help with the clean up.
Gympie Regional Council Mayor Mick Curran Philippe Coquerand

Once again it was the council spokeswoman (is it the same one every time?) who did her unavailing best to justify the council's inexcusable miserliness.

Interesting reading indeed!