CRITICAL steps have been taken in the RiFL Hub development after Wagga City Council scored a deal with recycling giant Visy and gave a green light for the final two stages, valued at $45 million.
The council will enter a partnership with Visy Logistics, which will take over the freight terminal at Bomen once constructed.
It also awarded a contract to Huon Contractors for the design and construction of the final two stages of the development, which will be completed by mid-2022.
Council's general manager Peter Thompson said they were critical steps to progress it to a stage of physical development with plans and the construction.
"This is a significant milestone, but when we wake up tomorrow morning we will be working on the next thing which is how do we get industry in there, attract people and deliver cash flow through our city," he said.
Mr Thompson said the partnership with Visy - which moves significant amounts of freight volumes each year - will put Wagga on everyone's radar and will bring a "hive of activity" to the terminal from the day the gates swing open.
"Visy is one of the largest privately owned paper, packaging and recycling companies in the world and is free to choose who it partners with and where it locates its operations," he said.
"Having Visy onboard speaks volumes about the significance of the RiFL project. It shows how far we have come as a city."
Visy Logistics executive general manager Sean Richards said the intermodal freight hub epitomises their aim of putting partnerships with its customers, transparency and sustainable solutions at the centre of its work.
"We are always looking for ways to safely streamline supply chain processes and innovate to create value for our customers, and the RiFL Hub partnerships [are] a great example of this," he said.
The design phase for the RiFL Hub has already started and it is expected to take about three months before equipment will be onsite for construction that will take about 18 months.
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Council's regional activation director Michael Keys said the project is one of the most important developments in the city in recent decades.
"We are expecting the phones to start ringing more regularly ... with national and international companies to relocate here and provide employment, new industries, new technologies and open up the world to Wagga," he said.
Mr Keys said this will be the momentum for kick-starting the special activation precinct, which will deliver 6000 jobs over a period of 40 years.
"That wouldn't happen without this terminal. This is the jewel in the crown. This is the stimulus that will make everything else flow out of it," he said.
Mayor Greg Conkey said this critical piece of infrastructure shores up the city's position as a leading regional capital city and "a progressive player" when it comes to sitting at the table with big business.
Huon Contractors director Adam Howard said his team has strong connections with Wagga and intends to utilise local contractors and suppliers as much as possible to deliver the project.