The Victorian Government has granted Fenning Timbers $700,000 to help build a new freight terminal at the end of the Gippsland rail line.
The $865,000 first stage of the proposed Fenning Intermodal Freight Terminal (FIFT) will use land adjacent to the business’ Bairnsdale mill to meet a growing demand for rail freight in the region.
The establishment of the commercial light rail precinct will also provide better linkages to Melbourne and the rest of the state for Gippsland businesses, in addition to upgrades made to the Gippsland line under the Victorian Freight Plan.
The first phase will involve upgrades to the site including to rail siding, existing infrastructure and improving refuelling, parking and access. In the longer-term, the second stage of the project would expand the FIFT’s footprint and build additional warehousing and storage facilities.
The funding is part of the $120 million Victorian Forestry Plan, the biggest ever forestry package that will support workers, businesses and communities. There is a planned transition with a stepped-down approach until 2030 that offers opportunities for the industry to move away from native forestry and diversify into different industries and ways of working.
Member for Eastern Victoria, Jane Garrett, said the FIFT was a positive step by Fenning Timbers to utilise its existing land and assets to diversify its business away from only processing native hardwood timber.
“Fenning Timbers is a great example of a business actively responding to the Victorian Forestry Plan and the early support it provides for forestry businesses to respond to the change ahead,” she said.
“Now more than ever as we move towards to 2030 and the end of timber harvesting in public forests, there is a need for the Victorian timber industry to look to new supply, new markets, new products and new opportunities.”
Minister for Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne, said the new freight terminal will assist with the push to move more freight on to rail, taking trucks off local roads and creating a more efficient connection into Melbourne.