Rat­tler de­lays force coun­cil to give guar­an­tee to au­di­tors

Con­fi­den­tial let­ter of com­fort is­sued

The Gympie Times - - NEWS - SCOTT KOVACEVIC RE­PORTER scott.kovacevic@gympi­etimes.com

THE de­lays which stalled the Mary Val­ley Rat­tler’s re­turn for more than 300 days has forced Gympie Re­gional Coun­cil to give an as­sur­ance about the project to the Queens­land’s Au­dit Of­fice.

Coun­cil­lors en­dorsed 6-1 a let­ter of com­fort be­ing given to the Rat­tler Rail­way Com­pany’s board at their last or­di­nary meet­ing, with Cr Hi­lary Smer­don the lone vote against.

Cr Daryl Dodt was on leave, and Cr Glen Hartwig said he left to at­tend a per­sonal mat­ter.

A coun­cil spokes­woman said the let­ter was re­quired un­der leg­is­la­tion.

“In light of the de­lays to the com­mence­ment of the Rat­tler Rail­way and the sub­se­quent fi­nan­cial im­pact, the Queens­land Au­dit Of­fice, in ac­cor­dance with nor­mal prac­tice, re­quested ev­i­dence to sup­port the com­pany’s sta­tus in order to meet the au­di­tor’s obli­ga­tions un­der Aus­tralian Au­dit­ing Stan­dards,” she said.

“The coun­cil, as 100 per cent owner of the Rat­tler Rail­way Com­pany pro­vided a Let­ter of Com­fort in the for­mat re­quired and cov­ers a pe­riod of 18 months from the date of the let­ter.”

Let­ters of com­fort are of­ten used to as­sure fi­nan­cial bodies that obli­ga­tions will be met.

They are not al­ways legally bind­ing.

As the let­ter of com­fort was in com­mit­tee, the ex­act con­tents of the let­ter or what obli­ga­tion it re­lates to are un­known.

A QAO spokes­woman said con­fi­den­tial­ity law means it was un­able to re­lease the doc­u­ment to the pub­lic.

Photo: Donna Jones

CON­CERN: The Rat­tler’s con­tin­ued de­lays have left a mark on the project’s fi­nan­cial sta­tus.

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