A Gippsland timber business is on track to create a new freight terminal thanks to funding under the Victorian Forestry Plan.

Bairnsdale-based Fenning Timbers has received a $700,000 grant for the first stage of the Fenning Intermodal Freight Terminal (FIFT) at the end of the Gippsland rail line.

The $865,000 first stage of the project will use land adjacent to their 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 FIFT is a positive step by Fenning Timbers to utilise their existing land and assets to diversify their business away from only processing native hardwood timber.

Stage 1 of the project will see upgrades to the site including to rail siding, existing infrastructure and improving refuelling, parking and access. In the longer-term, Stage 2 of the project would expand the FIFT’s footprint and build additional warehousing and storage facilities.

The $120 million Victorian Forestry Plan is 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.

For more information about the Victorian Forestry Plan and the support available for forestry businesses visit djpr.vic.gov.au/forestry.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Jane Garrett

“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.”

“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.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne

“The new freight terminal will assist with our push to move more freight on to rail, taking trucks off local roads and creating a more efficient connection into Melbourne.”

Quote attributable to Managing Director of Fenning Timbers Leonard Fenning

“The Fenning Intermodal Freight Terminal Stage 1 project is on track to deliver a new environmentally sustainable freight and rail precinct for eastern Victoria as part of a masterplan that aligns with the government’s long-term policy.”