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ATO confirms Rattler’s eligibility for Job Keeper support, as Gympie’s heritage railway steams towards recovery

December 7, 2020 Business News No Comments

The Rattler Railway Company (RRC) has received formal advice from the Federal Government that it was eligible for Job Keeper support to maintain operations and employment for its team in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

RRC had sought clarification from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) despite receiving initial advice that the organisation’s status as a not-for-profit, member-based company limited by guarantee met the eligibility requirements for Job Keeper support.

RRC had applied – and been approved – for Job Keeper after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Rattler to suspend operations in March, slashing its revenues and potentially forcing a mass lay-off of its workforce.

Reaffirming RRC’s eligibility, the written advice from the ATO stated that “Rattler is not excluded as an eligible employer by section 7(2)(d) of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020.” 

“Job Keeper provided a lifeline during the pandemic, enabling us to maintain employment for most of our local team,” said RRC Chair, Mr Ian McNicol.

“While tourism services had to be suspended for four months, we were able to use the time to concentrate on enhancing our maintenance and safety, as well as developing a business recovery program.

“Despite the difficult conditions and disruptions caused by border closures, RRC has been able to achieve an operating profit over the first four months of the current financial year. RRC achieved this profit through introducing new products, which has increased the revenue base, whilst concentrating on cost reduction. As we are a not for profit organisation, any income generated after expenses is redirected into the maintenance of our heritage rollingstock.

“The above-forecast result is a testimony to the dedication and innovation shown by the RRC team and our incredible volunteers, who are at the heart of the Rattler’s success story and do such a great job promoting the Mary Valley Region and maintaining our wonderful heritage.”

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