GOT YOUR BACK: Gympie Regional Council has endorsed a new letter of comfort for the Rattler, ensuring any needed financial support for the next three years.
GOT YOUR BACK: Gympie Regional Council has endorsed a new letter of comfort for the Rattler, ensuring any needed financial support for the next three years.

Council votes to cover Rattler's shortfalls until 2022

THE Mary Valley Rattler is getting at least three more year's of financial security from Gympie Regional Council.

Councillors endorsed a new letter of comfort for the heritage train at this week's meeting, which guarantees the train's financial backing until June 30, 2022.

The first letter expires next month.

It ensured the council would "unconditionally and irrevocably provide the company with adequate financial support ... as to ensure the company's continuity", the Rattler's 2018-19 financial report said.

In that financial year the train recorded a $420,000 loss, leaving it with a $335,000 net liability.

 

The Mary Valley Rattler has made its first return run to Amamoor with a steam engine.
The Mary Valley Rattler on its first run to Amamoor. LEEROY TODD

Seven councillors voted in support of the letter. Cr Hilary Smerdon was the lone opponent and Cr Glen Hartwig left the meeting after declaring a material personal interest.

The controversial letter was not the only time the Rattler was the centre of debate at the meeting.

A report on the Audit and Risk Committee's June meeting revealed the group had its own questions about the train.

One of these was the possibility of the long-delayed review being expanded to cover all capital works.

Chief executive Bernard Smith said this was ruled out at the group's August meeting as the project's "delays were so unusual and unlikely to be repeated".

 

Rattler's First Run - Saturday, October 6, 2018.
Rattler's First Run - Saturday, October 6, 2018. Donna Jones

Other requests by the committee were for the council to consider a review of the Rattler's governing structures and a report be delivered on the agreements and controls in place between the Rattler Railway Company and the council.

Mr Smith said the group was satisfied with what's in place.