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Aerial Drone of NSS @ Work

NSS recently partnered up with SkyDronics to bring you a series of aerial drone videos of just some of the services we offer at NSS.

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If you’ve ever dreamed of tackling marlin fishing on the Great Barrier Reef, a recent YouTube video is well worth a look.

The Cairns Professional Game Fishing Association has released On The Edge, to show its long connection to the reef and the mighty marlin.

On The Edge provides a unique glimpse into the day-to-day operation of the Cairns-based marlin charter fleet, whose vessels take keen anglers from around the world out to catch the elusive black marlin.

The game fishing association has over 40 member vessels representing the very best professional charter fishing operators in the world.

See the video here

The best wheels in the North West are hitting a digital arena this year after the COVID-19 crisis forced Mount Isa Motor Show organisers to opt for an online version.

Last year’s event attracted 80 vehicles and drew more than 600 people through the gates at Buchanan Park.

This year will see the Mount Isa ‘Digital’ Motor Show go live online on July 12. (Details HERE)

Mount Isa Motorsports and Recreation Inc secretary Nadia Cowperthwaite said taking the seventh annual event online had been a hard decision.

Concerns about what crowd restrictions may still apply as Queensland Government’s COVID-19 response continued to unfold prompted the move in May, rather than facing the risk of having to cancel at the eleventh hour.

There may be an upside to the online platform, with hopes it will give a glimpse of treasures usually kept under wraps.

“There are a lot of motoring enthusiasts here and a lot of really amazing cars in sheds that no one sees,” Mrs Cowperthwaite said

“So I’m hoping that people who may not like to take their pride and joy to a physical car show might be more inclined to post a photo.”

Mrs Cowperthwaite said entries were starting to come in, but she expected the bulk to appear from the middle of next week.

The competition, open to Mount Isa vehicles, will include a people’s choice award as well as a judge’s choice award.

Entries close on July 10 and the album will be uploaded for viewing and voting via Facebook from July 11.

IMAGE: Nadia Cowperthwaite's 1973 XA Ford Falcon will be on display, although not among the competition entries.

A record $181 million capital works program headlines Cairns Regional Council’s 2020-21 Budget.

Mayor Bob Manning said the record $181 million capital works program, part of a $312 million Budget, would provide a needed stimulus boost to the local economy and ensure the council continued to deliver services to a level expected by the community.

Cr Manning acknowledged the city was facing unprecedented challenges due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and said it was vital the council maximised its capital works program to stimulate the local economy.

“Given that approximately 90 per cent of the council’s works expenditure is invested locally through employment and locally sourced materials and services, it is clear the council has an important role to play in keeping our local economy moving,” Cr Manning said.

“It is equally important that we continue to invest in water, wastewater, drainage and transport infrastructure networks to ensure the city’s critical networks operate efficiently.”

The commitment of $181 million in the capital works program brings the total amount of capital works delivered by the council over the past seven years to almost $1.2 billion.

“The record $181 million program for this year will be delivered across the length and breadth of our local government area, with an emphasis on upgrading core infrastructure to ensure the ongoing delivery of services, while also providing economic stimulus,” Cr Manning said.

“The program includes $60 million for water and waste infrastructure, $43.5 million for improvements to our transport and drainage network and $28 million for the Esplanade Dining Precinct project.”

The council has also allocated $42.5 million on maintaining 577 parks and nature areas, 500km of sealed footpaths, more than 100 connecting footbridges, 800 litter bins and 65 toilet blocks.

This year’s capital works program allows for:
  • $43.5 million on roads, bridges, drainage, kerb and channel, shoulder sealing, and bus stops
  • $28.5 million on improving the wastewater network,
  • $32.7 million on water and waste infrastructure, and
  • $37 million on community, sport, cultural and tourism projects
  • $28.7 million for the Esplanade Dining Precinct
IMAGE: Cairns Regional Council has committed $28.7 million to the Esplanade Dining Precinct project.

BMA has announced a $100 million plan to introduce a 34-strong fleet of autonomous trucks at the Daunia coal mine in Central Queensland.

BMA asset president James Palmer said the move would result in 150 additional project roles for BMA people and contractors, on top of 56 new permanent roles on site.

“This announcement is a vote of confidence in Central Queensland,” Mr Palmer said.

“At least 10 regional and Indigenous businesses will be employed to support the roll-out, with contracts worth $35 million.”

The shift to Caterpillar driverless trucks is set to begin in February, with the roll-out expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

It comes on the back of BMA Goonyella Riverside mine’s shift to autonomous haulage operations, set to begin in September.

Mr Palmer said there would be no job losses as a result of the decision to make the switch at Daunia,  30km south-east of Moranbah.

“…Anyone who currently works with us, be it an employee or labour hire worker, will be given the opportunity to continue to do so,” Mr Palmer said.

The announcement will mean a boost for Hastings Deering Central Queensland operations, with an additional 30 jobs required to assist with the conversion of trucks and ancillary mining fleet into autonomous vehicles at Daunia.

“It’s exciting work to build on that allows us to grow and develop local talent to deliver technology solutions into the resources sector,” Hastings Deering chief executive officer Dean Mehmet said.

NB Industries will complete the light vehicle fleet conversion, and Radlink Communications will install wireless communication hardware across the mine.

Mr Palmer said the company had engaged with its Daunia workforce over the past 18 months on the possible roll-out of autonomous haulage.

To help prepare for Daunia’s autonomous future, it is estimated that more than 30,000 hours of training will be delivered, ranging from general awareness to extensive training for those operating equipment, interacting with the autonomous haul trucks, or taking on new roles.

The Isaac Regional Council welcomed assurances there would be no job losses associated with automation of haulage at BMA’s Daunia Mine.

“Council has been absolutely firm that we want jobs staying in the Isaac Region as technological innovation occurs in the coal-mining industry,” Mayor Anne Baker said.

“We have received a firm commitment from BMA that no jobs will be lost from the region through this move to autonomous haulage at Daunia.

“That is vitally important to the Isaac Regional Council because we are committed to maintaining strong local communities across our region and communities are created by people, not machines.”
Genex Power has pinned down construction pricing and secured a further extension for its NAIF loan offer as it steams towards financial close for the Kidston Pumped Storage Hydro Project.

Genex chief executive officer James Harding said the company was focused on starting construction in the coming months – creating an estimated 500 jobs in North Queensland over the next four years.

The 250MW energy project, being built at the old Kidston gold mine site, has a total construction pricing of about $600 million.

In an update this week, Genex said it had finalised terms with its core contractors, who include:
  • Engineering, procurement and construction – a joint venture of McConnell Dowel Constructors and John Holland,
  • Electromechanical equipment subcontractor – ANDRITZ Hydro GmbH,
  • Connection assets infrastructure – Beon Energy Solutions,
  • Construction camp operator – ISS Facility Services Australia, and
  • Owner’s engineer – Hydro-electric Corporation, trading as Entura.
The $600 million construction pricing excludes transmission costs, financing costs and Genex’s development costs to date.

Genex has confirmed that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) has extended its offer to September 30 for long-term concessional loan funding of $610 million for the project.

The company said it was continuing intensive negotiations to finalise financing for the project and was targeting financial close within the next three months.

“Since the signing of the binding Energy Storage Services Agreement with EnergyAustralia in March 2020, the Genex team has been extremely busy in reconfirming arrangements with its other project stakeholders,” Mr Harding said.

“With the extension of the NAIF offer for funding, confirmed terms with key contractors and revised Offer to Connect, we remain on track to close out the financing activities within our timeline, subject to financing arrangements with the Queensland Goverment for co-funding of the transmission line.

“Kidston is a critical project for Queensland and Australia – it will be the first pumped storage hydro project in the NEM in almost 40 years, will deliver 500 direct construction jobs over the next four years and will provide much-needed synchronous firming capacity to the North Queensland power network and by providing this support will immediately unlock additional renewable electricity generation projects in North Queensland.

“We remain focused on delivering the financing such that we can commence construction in the coming months.”

The Queensland Government last year announced a funding package of up to $132 million for construction of an 185km transmission line from Kidston to Mount Fox, and Genex said it was continuing crucial negotiations over the terms of that co-funding.

Defence infrastructure around Queensland will be redeveloped as part of a 10-year, $270 billion funding package unveiled by the Federal Government.

In its 2020 Defence Strategic Update, the Government has signalled a key change in Australia’s defence posture, as it prioritises the Indo-Pacific region.

The update provides a new plan to tackle Australia’s defence challenges while increasing investment and personnel across the entire ADF.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the strategic update would also mean more job opportunities as Australia’s increasingly capable and sovereign defence industry grew.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the Government’s defence strategy would create new jobs and investment in Queensland over the next decade.

As part of the strategy, $3 billion will be spent redeveloping a number of defence facilities, including Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks and RAAF Base, RAAF Base Scherger, HMAS Cairns, and Shoalwater Bay and Townsville training areas.

In southern Queensland, Gallipoli Barracks at Enoggera, Swartz Barracks at Oakey, Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah, Kokoda Barracks at Canungra and RAAF Base Amberley will be redeveloped.

“Local industry involvement in the delivery of these projects will be maximised through the Government’s Local Industry Capability Plan initiative,” Senator Reynolds and Ms Price said.

“This ensures that local suppliers, contractors and tradies have the opportunity to secure more of this work, creating more jobs for local communities in Queensland.”

Part of the package will involve $5.2 billion spent on delivering 211 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, 186 of which will be built in South East Queensland.