State cant afford rail trail funds
FUNDING for one of the Somerset's premier tourist attractions has been cut by the State Government.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail has been "mothballed" in the latest round of government cost cutting.
The cuts mean the government will not fund any works to complete unfinished sections or maintain the existing trail.
The historic trail of the Brisbane Valley rail line attracts thousands of tourists every year, with the Fernvale to Lowood Fun Run pulling more than 1000 runners to the trail in July.
Member for Ipswich West Sean Choat confirmed the State Government would not be funding the ongoing development of the trail.
"We've got a lot of things that are nice to have at the moment, but with the debt situation we can't afford them all," he said.
"Unfortunately the rail trail is something we can't afford at the moment.
"It is disappointing. I'm disappointed."
Despite the State Government wielding the axe on the rail trail funding, Mr Choat said he didn't want the trail to die.
Mr Choat said he wanted to work with local communities and councils to take up the torch in maintaining the trail.
However, Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said the cut would severely impact the Somerset's tourism industry.
"The state-administered Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is crucial to promoting tourism in the Somerset," he said.
"People using the trail on horses and bikes? That's all finished now.
"This Brisbane Valley Rail Trail connects all these communities. It is vital to tourism and economic development.
"For some of the smaller towns in the area the trail is one of their only tourist attractions."
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said he hadn't been informed of the trail's future and was expecting a meeting to be held next week.
Cr Lehmann said the council wanted the trail to continue operating.
"Council hasn't got any problems running it, but the funding would need to come from the State Government," he said.