Rattler's 2017-18 financial reports finally revealed
A MILLION-dollar payroll and a thriving cafe are the two main takeaways from the Mary Valley Rattler's latest financial reports, which show the heritage train finished 2017-18 at a $422,000 loss.
The financial reports, which have been lodged with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, reveal the tourism attraction relied heavily on funding support to keep it afloat through multiple delays.
Even with the train not operating, the Rattler Railway Company reported $2.7 million in revenue and other income for the 2017-18 financial year.
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This included $1.5 million in grants and funding from Gympie Regional Council.
Another $870,000 came from other government grants, and the cafe and retail sales generated $333,000.
However, this was offset by a $1.2 million employee bill and another $1.3 million in rail related expenses.
The company's closing balance at June 30, 2018 was $335,000 in the red.
The train was expected to start operations halfway through the reported financial year, but multiple delays in refurbishing the tracks resulted in the first trip not running until three months after it ended.
During this period the RRC entered into a $1.1 million loan with the council.
This loan is unsecured and interest free, the reports says.
Under the deal, the RRC must repay $50,000 annually plus an additional 25 per cent of the operating surplus over $100,000.
The full loan has now been taken up by the RRC, the report says, with the last $400,000 drawn in August and September last year.
Another $420,000 in operational funding was then paid out by the council in three sums: $150,000 last November, $150,000 in April and $120,000 two months ago.
The report notes the RRC "is aware of claims for compensation in relation to assets of the former operators of the Mary Valley Rattler”.
However the company "does not consider the claims as sustainable and therefore no amount has been recognised in these accounts”.
The report also says the council made a $74,000 payment (without GST) in 2017 for the salary of the general manager "on behalf of the Rattler Railway Company”.
"The council did not seek to recover these costs.”
The Rattler's Annual Information Statements reveal the charity's size grew from medium in 2017 to large to 2018.
In this time the number of full-time staff surged from one to 12; part-time staff numbers rose from four to 12; and casual staff jumped from four to 28.
The number of volunteers also rose exponentially, from about 20 to nearly 100.
The 2017-18 financial year's loss followed a $69,000 profit in 2016-17, and left the Rattler Railway Company $335,000 in the red as of June 30, 2018.
The latest reports were submitted three months after the ACNS's April 7 due date.
The next set of financial reports are due at the end of the year.