Beyond 2000

Beyond 2000

A Dairy Adjustment Program was introduced from 2000 to 2008 which was charged with providing, amongst other things, Dairy Exit Payments for those who chose to leave the industry.  It was an offer many could not refuse. In the Toogoolawah district alone, only 15 per cent of the pre-2000 dairy farms remain in operation.    Reports of the effects of deregulation in 2009 point to larger holdings with increased herds and increased milk production.  They also note that control of the industry has shifted to processors and large retailers like Coles and Woolworths who now dictate terms to the industry and the market place.

Just before the end of the Dairy Adjustment Scheme the then Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning announced a new initiative for the Brisbane Valley in January 2007.   This was to be a new recreational trail built on the disused rail corridor of the Brisbane Valley Rail Line at a cost of $3.6m.   It would be called the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and provide a safe environment for walkers, cyclists and horse riders for 140 km from Ipswich to Blackbutt.

Riders on the Rail Tail at Linville

It would include such amenities as horse yards, pedestal toilets, camping areas, water tanks and bike racks.   Much of the original rail trail is finished, except for the section between Toogoolawah and Moore where visitors will see the heritage listed Harlin Bridge and the only rail tunnel on the line beyond Yimbun when it is finished.    There are already extensions from Blackbutt to the original terminus at Yarraman as well as additional trails around the Blackbutt area. The rail trail is well used in good weather and the northern sections are particularly popular with groups of riders from pony clubs and ATHRA.

The Toogoolawah sale yards provide the only cattle sales in the Brisbane Valley in 2011.   They are well patronised and additional lots can be accommodated in the Show Ground facilities nearby.  

Years of drought were followed in 2011 by devastating floods in which only one life was lost in the Brisbane Valley region.   As in the 1893 flood, the southern end of the Somerset region suffered badly.   Submissions about recommended improvements in flood mitigation were presented to the Queensland Floods Inquiry Commission, and individual reports of conspicuous bravery, generosity and resilience have now passed into local folklore.

Coal MiningBefore the community had recovered from the flooding, reports that a mining company, (Coalbank, currently being bought by Lodestone Energy),  had applied for a permit to explore for coal over large tracts of the Brisbane River Valley were received with disbelief by those who were concerned for the river.  

Lodestone advised the Australian Stock Exchange that it would exclude areas within the Wivenhoe and Somerset dam catchment areas.   However the   permit includes the towns of EsWivenhoe Damk, Toogoolawah, Harlin, Moore and Linville where there is a telemetry rainfall station, a telemetry river station and a manual river station.   The effect of coal seam gas production on useful agricultural land elsewhere has produced a storm of protest.   Debate rages.

But as spring comes, the water birds are returning to the lakes, oblivious to their role in the evolving history of the Brisbane River Valley.