Good news for East Gippsland! After the region was left reeling by a ban on all native forest logging by the end of 2023 — announced by the Victorian Government with six months’ notice — Dahlsens quickly partnered up with two local builders to establish local steel truss and frame manufacturing in Orbost.
The wider East Gippsland community depends heavily on native forestry for employment, and the little town of Orbost is expected to be hardest hit by the ban. Around 25% of full-time jobs in Orbost are reliant on the timber industry, which equates to more than 100 positions. These are expected to be wiped out, in addition to approximately 60 peripheral jobs being severely impacted.
Locals come out swinging
Dahlsens, in partnership with locals Lachlan Heather and Luke Priestley, are taking matters into our own hands.
In this three-way joint venture, a steel truss and frame manufacturing facility has been established in Newmerella near Orbost to provide employment and economic stimulus.
This new plant not only goes some way to providing hope to the local community, it meets the growing demand from builders and homeowners for steel framing as an option.
Keeping it in the community
Lachlan and Luke are East Gippsland born and bred, and like Dahlsens, are committed to helping the region that they love survive and thrive.
The new plant currently employs locals who lost their jobs as result of the closures, and as it grows, will continue to offer more employment to those affected by the native timber logging ban.
Expanding to steel truss and frame
Dahlsens already has 12 timber truss and frame plants operating in NSW, ACT and Victoria, with the new Orbost plant an exciting first foray into steel truss and frame manufacturing.
To this venture, Lachlan and Luke bring experience in residential and commercial building using both timber and steel frames. Lachlan is mat the helm as branch manager and a fountain of knowledge regarding steel framing.
After hitting the ground running, the plant is already pumping out precision engineered steel wall frames, floor joists and trusses. It uses ScotSteel design and engineering software that enables 3D modelling and efficient construction. Deliveries are being made across the Gippsland region, up to ACT and south coast of New South Wales.
Government grant hopes
At the time of writing, a $500,000 grant application lodged by Dahlsens, under the state government’s Victorian Forest Transition Program, is pending. We are hopeful that this grant will fund manufacturing expansion, and open up more employment opportunities for locals to cushion the impending closure of the region’s primary industry.