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As Queensland gears up to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Ravenswood Gold is in the running to shine on the podium.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said gold toiled from the soil in regional Queensland could be adorning Aussie athletes.

“The Palaszczuk Government wants regional Queensland to tap into the biggest single transformational project in Queensland’s history,” Mr Miles said.

“Since 1868 this historic mine we’re standing at today has successfully mined millions of ounces of gold.

“It could be supplying the gold for the many medals our great Aussie athletes win in 2032. Wouldn’t that be a great Queensland success story.

“We want everyone in Queensland to be a winner and put Queensland businesses on the podium at the 2032 Games.”

Mr Miles said hosting the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games would generate $8 billion in economic and social benefits in addition to 91,600 jobs.

“That’s the size and scope of opportunities we’re looking at over the next ten years as we ramp up for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Mr Miles said the Office of the Coordinator-General worked closely with Ravenswood Gold to assist with approvals required for the new open cut mining pits and infrastructure that will help keep the mine producing gold until 2034.

“On 27 October 2021, I extended the prescribed project declaration for Ravenswood’s mine expansion project for two years, until 30 November 2023, and I will continue to consider future extensions as they’re required,” he said.

“This job generating mine currently employs over 350 full time workers and plans are in place to expand the workforce to over 400 full time workers.”

Ravenswood Gold chief executive officer Brett Fletcher said the Ravenswood team was proud to be working with the State Government and regional business partners in building Queensland’s largest gold mine.

“Our vision is a sustainable, high performing, long life, low cost operation producing pure Queensland gold,” he said.

A new report shows wages growth has slowed in Australia’s engineering sector despite the profession’s critical role in bringing the nation’s bumper infrastructure investment to fruition.

The Professional Engineers Employment and Remuneration Report 2021/2022 released by the Association of Professional Engineers Australia found that average wages for engineers rose by 1.6 percent over the last 12 months, compared with 2.4 per cent in the year prior.

In a sector-by-sector break-down, engineers in the Defence industry fared best in terms of growth rate with an average annual increase of 2.1 per cent.

Wages in the road industry, the water, sewerage and drainage industry, and the construction industry also rose moderately, increasing between 1.7 and 2.0 per cent.

Respondents from New South Wales reported the highest median total package at $149,378, followed by Queensland at $145,852 and the ACT with $144,250.

The APEA survey also showed that 49.2 per cent of engineers had changed employers seeking an increase in remuneration while 51.7 per cent did so for professional development opportunities.

Professionals Australia chief executive officer Jill McCabe said that the report illustrated the critical role that Australia’s engineers were playing in the nation’s economic recovery and lessons for engineering employers.

“Fortunately, Australia is beginning to emerge from the difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m proud to say that Australian engineers are helping to lead our nation out of the economic crisis through their invaluable work in the delivery of a quarter trillion dollar investment in new infrastructure across our country,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we’ve not seen this record infrastructure investment and increased demand for engineers flow on to greater wage increases compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Around half of the engineers surveyed believed both that their remuneration packages were falling behind what others undertaking similar work were being paid, and that their packages were not commensurate with the level of responsibility they undertook day to day.

“It’s clear from the data that to attract and retain high quality engineering talent, employers must offer competitive remuneration packages and professional development opportunities to prospective candidates.”

Findings highlight gender inequity

Ms McCabe also said the report once again highlighted that much more work needed to done to address gender equity in the profession.

“Unfortunately, women still face an average gender pay gap of 9.8 per cent when compared with men,” she said.

“34.9 per cent of women also reported that they had experienced discrimination on the basis of gender in the workplace.

“Unacceptably, 25.4 per cent of women also reported they have experienced sexual harassment in their engineering workplaces compared with just 2.5 per cent of men.

“With little improvement year to year, these statistics demonstrate that the engineering sector has a deep, cultural and institutional problem with the women which needs to change as a matter of urgency.”

Stanmore Resources has announced a $1.8 billion deal to acquire mining giant BHP’s 80 per cent interest in BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC).

BMC owns the South Walker Creek and Poitrel mines in the Bowen Basin as well as the undeveloped Wards Well coal project.

The mines boast a combined metallurgical coal production of around 10Mt per annum and total marketable reserves in excess of 135Mt.

Stanmore chief executive officer Marcelo Matos described it as an exciting and transformative acquisition for Stanmore, which owns the Isaac Plains complex near Moranbah and a stake in the newly restarted Millennium/Mavis Downs site (MetRes JV).

The company was fortunate to be able to rely on the full support of controlling shareholders Golden Energy and Resources (GEAR) as well as the Sinar Mas Group to successfully execute the deal, he said.

“This transaction will see the company become one of the leading metallurgical coal producers globally and provide Stanmore with a portfolio of tier 1 assets, with a significantly increased reserves and resources base and assets with an expected mine life exceeding 25 years production, positioning the company for substantial cashflow generation and future growth opportunities,” Mr Matos said.

“BHP have managed the BMC business competently and responsibly over the years, and as new custodians we look forward to integrating the BMC business into Stanmore with a continued focus on safety, and responsibly and sustainably producing high quality metallurgical coal products for our global customers.”

The new assets would increase Stanmore’s metallurgical coal production by 5.6 times.

The purchase price for the transaction comprises:

  • $US1.1 billion ($1.48 billion in Australian dollars) payable on completion;
  • $US100 million ($135 million) payable six months post completion; and
  • Up to $US150 million (about $200 million) based on a revenue sharing mechanism if the average sales price achieved is above a certain threshold over a two year period, payable within three months of the end of the testing period (expected in CY2024).

Completion of the transaction is expected mid-2022, following the satisfaction of conditions precedent, including regulatory approvals.

NSS is ready to swing into action at Port of Cairns as the first shipment of wind turbines arrives in Far North Queensland for Neoen’s $373 million Kaban wind farm.

Eight wind turbine sets are expected to arrive in Cairns onboard the MV Chipol Guangan in late November/early December for the project, which will involve 28 turbines in total.

“NSS will be engaged to safely and efficiently unload this cargo from the vessel to Rex J Andrews specialised transport," NSS general manager David King said.

“From there, Rex J Andrews will transport the cargo from the vessel to a nearby storage yard where the cargo will be unloaded, stored and delivered out according to the construction schedule and transport permits.”

The work requires significant expertise, particularly given the fact that these operations will be undertaken on a night-shift basis.

Ports North chairman Russell Beer said that upgrades to the project cargo laydown areas in the port were underway with HEH Civil engaged to carry out the required civil works.

“Ports North has been actively working to increase project cargo shipping through the port and to have another wind farm import its cargo through the port confirms the capabilities of Cairns as a project shipping port,” Mr Beer said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the parts to build all 28 wind turbines for Kaban would be discharged in Cairns before being transported to the wind farm site near Ravenshoe.

“The Port of Cairns has been very successful in establishing itself as a project hub for the North, particularly for wind farm components,” Mr Bailey said.

With blades measuring in at 80m in length and weighing 24 tonnes, this extremely large cargo must be expertly handled and stored before departing for the Tablelands, he said.

“This month we will see eight of the 28 turbines arrive in the port, with the rest to follow over the next seven months – generating an estimated 27,500 revenue tonnes of cargo over the life of the project,” Mr Bailey said

The project is expected to create about 250 jobs during the construction phase and to represent a significant boost to the local economy, especially for the contractors, suppliers, transport and logistics companies involved.

The wind farm components – which include tower sections, blades, nacelles, hubs and drive trains – will be unloaded at the Cairns wharves and stored at a number of sites in the port including a purpose built 5ha Tingira St site.

The Kaban Green Power Hub project is set to generate 457 GWh of clean energy each year from 2023.

It consists of a 157 MW wind farm located near Ravenshoe and a 320km transmission line upgrade of the North Queensland coastal circuit. 

EPC contractor Vestas was provided with notice to proceed in May and Neoen completed financial close in September.

The project is underpinned by a 15-year capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with CleanCo, Queensland’s publicly owned clean energy company, for 100 per cent of the energy generated.

Below: The Port of Cairns laydown area used in the past for wind farm components is being upgraded.
Two sporting heavyweights are adding their star power as Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA) kicks off a series of events aimed at connecting and strengthening regional businesses.

The Regions Rising events will feature rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston and Townsville-born Olympic gold medalist, beach volleyball star Natalie Cook.

They will be held in Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Hughenden, and Normanton in the last week of November with the aim of linking regional businesses with industry professionals and government services.

“During recent visits to the regions RDA became aware of the need to facilitate connections between regional businesses and industry and government bodies to help these businesses boom,” RDA chief executive officer Wayde Chiesa said.

“The Small Business Expo will bring together experts in business planning, marketing and accounting to provide advice to these businesses in a relaxed environment and the dinner event will allow further networking and help local businesses form stronger connections.

“We’re bringing along our fantastic speakers to ensure the night is a great success. We are really looking forward to hearing from Johnathan Thurston and Natalie Cook as their share their experiences and the highs and lows of their journey.”

Representatives from NBN, Smart Precinct NQ, ATO, the North Queensland Manufacturing Hub, the Department of Employment, Training and Small Business, and Business Station amongst others will be on hand to advise attendees and answer any questions.

RDA Committee Chair and Charters Towers Regional Council Mayor Frank Beveridge said the locations were chosen to ensure a good coverage across the North West region.

Depending on funding, he hoped more locations could be added in 2022.

“Part of the difficulty of operating a business in the regions is the lack of access to services and awareness of any available support and RDA are focused on ensuring these businesses are kept informed of these economic opportunities,” he said.

“I know in the Charters Towers region many businesses are busy with day-to-day operations and just don’t have the time to research or pursue available government support.”

Regions Rising is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Regions Rising events will be held in Charters Towers on Monday, November 22, in Hughenden on Wednesday, November 24, Cloncurry on Thursday, November 25 and Normanton on Friday, November 26.

Below: RDA Townsville and North West Queensland chief executive officer Wayde Chiesa at the launch with Jonathan Thurston and RDA Townsville and North West Queensland chair Frank Beveridge.

Applications are open in a grants program offering more than $110 million to help northern Australian businesses to grow and transform.

Member for Dawson George Christensen is encouraging interested organisations to ensure they take full advantage of the opportunity.

“The Northern Australia Development Program (NADP) has opened for applications and I am very happy to announce that these grant streams will provide between $50,000 and $10 million to businesses who want to develop and transform the north and create more jobs,” Mr Christensen said.

“These grants will help businesses to fund new capital expenditure investments like the construction of infrastructure or assets, or to undertake business planning and feasibility studies.

“There are a number of operators I have spoken to in recent months with worthy projects and I am keen to see as much investment coming into North Queensland as possible.”

The Northern Australia Development Program is a $111.9 million investment, offering funding under two streams.

A Business Development Grants stream offers between $50,000 and $2 million for small-tomedium corporations.

The second stream – Industry Transformation Grants – will offer corporations between $3 million and $10 million to establish a new industry or grow an existing industry.

Grants will cover up to 50 per cent of an eligible project’s total cost.

“Applicants are encouraged to submit applications prior to the first-round assessment date of December 10, 2021,” Mr Christensen said.

Guidelines are available at the Business Grants Hub –