Building tourism opportunities for the Somerset region

An investment of more than $2.6 million from the Queensland and Australian Governments has supported significant improvements to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and the Mountain to Mountain connection.

As a result of the upgrades, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail now boast new pathways, trailheads, solar lighting, shelters and turfing in Esk, Toogoolawah, Lowood and Fernvale.

New wayfinding and interpretive signage has made the trail more accessible and inclusive.

Meanwhile, clearing works also carried out will improve community safety by enhancing the effectiveness of fire breaks, reducing the risk of future bushfires.

These upgrades come after the 2019 Black Summer bushfires that caused significant devastation across south-east Queensland.

To help impacted communities rebuild, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority established the $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery (LER) Program.

The program is a jointly funded initiative through Commonwealth-state Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

LER infrastructure projects strengthen communities by not only building resilience but tapping into local economic opportunities.

And the 161 km Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a significant tourism asset for the Somerset region.

The trail follows the historic former Brisbane Valley rail line from Ipswich to Yarraman.

It passes through towns including Coominya, Esk, Toogoolawah, Moore, Linville, Benarkin, and Blackbutt, alongside farms and bushland.

Now, as a result of the Mountain to Mountain Connection upgrades, the town of Esk offers tourism and recreation links between Mount Glen Rock in the east and Blanks Mountain in the west.

Investing in disaster resilience and resilient infrastructure yields significant long-term benefits.

For communities in the Somerset region, these projects will drive tourism, enhance town connectivity, and provide recreation opportunities.