Multi-million dollar expansion

THE multi-million dollar expansion plans of a local firm, expected to create up to 18 jobs, were today boosted by a State Government grant.

Traralgon-based engineering and construction firm, Stirloch Constructions, intends to build a $3 million precast concrete fabrication facility in the town.

In announcing a State Government contribution of $350,000 to the project today, State Member for Morwell Russell Northe said it would create eight full-time jobs at the Traralgon facility and another 10 jobs during construction.

Speaking to The Express Stirloch chief executive officer Wayne Loechel said the firms plans indicated a commitment to investing in the region and a belief that the Latrobe Valley was “very resilient” despite its current challenges.

“We know things don’t seem very positive at the moment but we see this grant as helping us over the next 18 months to two years, and we see the Valley has been very resilient over the last 25 years and we think we may be as busy as we’ve ever been in a few years time,” Mr Loechel said.

“We have one of the biggest coal resources in the world and it is just going to take some smart people to work out how to best use it…it may not look rosy at the moment but we are still positive.

“You can’t sit on your hands and do nothing; we might not know how much, but there will definitely be work here in the future.”

Representing Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Northe said the State Government’s contribution to the project came from the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Loechel said the fund’s representatives had been “very good to work with” through the grant application process.

Mr Northe said key aspects of the project would include the construction of a dedicated prefabrication shed, on-site storage shed and a 225 square metre office, purchase and installation of A-frames, casting decks and cranes and fit-out of new buildings.

“The expansion will remove the need for Stirloch Constructions to rely on third party sources for precast concrete products or the need for fabricating concrete panels in its own yard, which is exposed to the elements and has limited space,” Mr Northe said.

“The new dedicated, purpose-built precast concrete fabrication facility at the Traralgon Industrial Park will have the capacity to supply precast concrete products not only to Stirloch’s existing projects but also to other construction projects across eastern Victoria.”

Mr Northe said the new facility was expected to enhance Stirloch’s capability by improving its current precast concrete fabrication processing, which would no longer be weather dependent.

“The project will have flow-on benefits for the Latrobe Valley as it introduces new capability and skills into the region,” he said.

“The LVIIF provides $15 million over three years to facilitate new employment opportunities and leverage new private sector investment in the region.”

The fund is available for investments that align with the strategic directions of the Latrobe Valley Industry and Employment Roadmap, the State Government’s framework for guiding future investment in the Valley.