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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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News

Regional Queensland is set to benefit from a Government move to boost internet connectivity throughout the state.

The Government has announced it will use 6000km of state-owned fibre optic cable to boost internet connectivity and potentially lower prices for more than 600,000 businesses and households around Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Government would set up a new entity called FibreCo Qld to partner with internet service providers.

She said FibreCo Qld would use the extra capacity on the state-owned fibre optic network to offer faster, more reliable internet to homes and businesses in regional Queensland.

Regional areas where FibreCo Qld will work to provide faster, more reliable internet include Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.

“Fast and reliable internet is vital when it comes to running a business,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“And by using the Government’s fibre optic network, we can provide significantly greater capacity than what’s currently available in regional Queensland.”

Former telecommunications entrepreneur Steve Baxter, who advocated strongly for the project during his time as Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, welcomed the announcement, saying it would have a transformational effect for businesses in more remote areas of the state. 

“Freeing up state-owned assets to increase the capacity in an under-utilised backhaul market will lead to great outcomes for Queensland,” he said.

Fibre optic boost for regional internet
Zip lines and a projection light show are among the proposals in a new Castle Hill Concept Plan for Townsville.

Townsville City Council engaged a project team – including Counterpoint Architecture and Milford Planning – to put together the plan, a Townsville 2020 Masterplan project.

The aim is to make Castle Hill more entertaining for locals and offer more commercial opportunities.

Mayor Jenny Hill said the concept plan had many exciting ideas.

“I’m incredibly excited by plans to use Castle Hill’s natural landscape as a canvas for light art shows similar to what’s done in Sydney with the Vivid Festival or in Alice Springs through the Parrtjima Festival,” Cr Hill said.

“There will also be a huge amount of interest in getting permanent zip lines on the Hill and we will be exploring other adventure tourism opportunities.”

Other ideas include food venues and a new pedestrian connection in to the heart of the CBD.

The Castle Hill Concept Plan is out for public consultation until the end of January.

Castle Hill concepts revealed
Sun Metals Corporation (SMC) has announced it will go ahead with a $300 million expansion of zinc refinery operations in Townsville.

The expansion is expected to create 350 jobs during construction, and up to 100 ongoing jobs covering refinery, transport and logistics opportunities.

Sun Metals’ refinery expansion is expected to commence immediately and will likely be completed by the first half of 2021.

SMC chief executive officer Yun Choi thanked Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the State Government for their involvement in key issues which paved the way for the announcement of the expansion to proceed.

“I would like to personally thank the Premier and her government for all their hard work has allowed for us to make this important announcement today," Mr Choi said.

“SMC has consistently said the key to making today’s announcement was working out logistics around port access and access to the road network, and thanks to the leadership of the Premier, those issues have now been resolved.

“This announcement is great news for Townsville and also the greater Townsville region as we expect the expansion will have a significant economic impact upon the regional economy each year."

The expansion will take SMC’s total new investments in Townsville for the last few years to more  than $500 million, following on from the commissioning of a $200 million 125MW solar farm.

“In the beginning of 2018, all of us at Sun Metals together redefined our mission as a company," M. Choi said.

"Sun Metals’ mission is to become (1) the safest, (2) the most environmentally responsible and (3) the most competitive zinc refinery in the world.  This expansion is a giant step in our relentless pursuit of this mission.  I am extremely proud and grateful of everyone at Sun Metals, without whom none of this would be possible.”

Green light for $300m Sun Metals expansion
BHP is recruiting for about 350 permanent jobs at the Caval Ridge and Daunia coal mines in Central Queensland after setting up a new Operations Services unit.

A company spokesman said the new organisation had been created within BHP to accelerate productivity improvements and reduce its use of labour hire workers,assisting to build long-term capability.

A recruitment and information page for Operations Services is now live at https://www.bhp.com/os

A team of directly employed, permanent workers will be assembled in Operations Services to deliver services currently outsourced through labour hire companies.

The jobs will include benefits such as job stability, competitive salary, performance related bonuses, flexible work options and permanent entitlements including paid parental, sick and annual leave, and access to the company share program.

“The goal of Operations Services is to accelerate production improvements and enable BHP to leverage best practice,” the spokesman said.

“Operations Services offers permanent jobs for workers – many of whom are currently labour hire employees and will provide security and flexibility to them, labour stability and productivity benefits for BHP.”

He said the Operations Services model was introduced to parts of the BHP business some months ago, and for the past year the group had been working on building the supporting systems, capability and processes that had made this a possible option.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said it was great to see industry heeding the concerns of local workers and local communities.

“I’ve been lobbying for permanent jobs in our mining industry for some time and the push for an inquiry into mining industry support for both businesses and workers in the regions was a component of that push.

“The report, Keep it in the Regions: Mining and Resource Industry Support for Businesses in Regional Economies, was tabled in the Parliament this week."

CFMEU Mining and Energy said BHP’s announcement showed that it saw the writing on the wall for the dodgy casual labour hire model widespread in the industry.

“It should not be newsworthy that a multinational mining company operating in Queensland directly employs local workers,” CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said.

“Unfortunately, it is. There are thousands of mineworkers in our state employed on dodgy labour hire arrangements with substandard pay and no job security in a model driven by big mining companies like BHP.

“Our union’s efforts to challenge this model in the courts and at the worksites is having an impact."

Mr Smyth said the CFMEU had written to BHP to seek more information about the proposed conditions of employment for the new positions.

“We will be fighting hard to make sure those workers employed by Operations Services are receiving the same pay and conditions as other directly employed at Daunia and Caval Ridge," he said.

Hundreds of new permanent roles on offer at CQ mines
Port of Townsville Limited (POTL) is seeking community feedback on its draft Long-Term Maintenance Dredging Management Plan.

The Port of Townsville is one of four Priority Ports under the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 and is the largest exporter in Australia of sugar, molasses, copper, lead, zinc and fertiliser, and the largest container and automotive port in Northern Australia, servicing around 80 per cent of the population.

Maintenance dredging is essential to remove natural sediments which settle and fill channels and harbour areas, affecting declared navigation depths needed for safe ship movements. Maintaining safe and efficient navigation routes is critical for port operations which sustain economic activities in the region.

The Long-Term Maintenance Dredging Management Plan has been prepared in accordance with Queensland and Federal Government frameworks and outlines POTL’s management approach for maintenance dredging at its ports and continual improvement in environmental performance for maintenance dredging.

POTL chief executive officer Ranee Crosby said Townsville and Lucinda Ports were within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and operated under significant environmental controls and a broad range of legislative processes to ensure port operations are managed with the highest of environmental standards.

“The Plan recognises the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef, has been developed on the foundations of the best available science, embodies the principles of ecologically sustainable development and implements best practices,” she said.

“The Plan also incorporates Ports Australia’s Code of Practice and has been informed by extensive research and monitoring undertaken by the Port in Cleveland Bay, and by Queensland Ports Association under Reef 2050.”

The Plan covers both Townsville and Lucinda Ports, however POTL notes that maintenance dredging is not currently undertaken at the Port of Lucinda as the natural deep water at this site is adequate for sugar export operations, and this is not expected to change.

In addition to direct engagement held with a range of key experts and stakeholders, POTL is now seeking public feedback on the draft Plan to ensure community views are incorporated into the final document.

The Plan will be used as a supporting document for future dredging and placement applications to Queensland and Federal regulators.

The draft Plan can be downloaded from POTL’s website townsvilleport.com.au.

Submissions can be made using the form available on POTL’s website, or by email to environmentdg@townsville-port.com.au  by 5pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018.

Dredging plan open for public comment
The Port of Mackay’s Southern Breakwater will reopen to vehicles this Friday (December 7) after the completion of repairs.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) chief executive officer Nicolas Fertin said the work had been completed on budget and ahead of schedule.

The Southern Breakwater sustained extensive damage during Cyclone Debbie in March 2017. 

Mr Fertin said it was important for the community to understand that while repairs were now complete, the breakwater was not “cyclone-proof”.

“The breakwater’s primary function is to provide a level of protection to the Port and marina,” Mr Fertin said.

Breakwater repairs complete