Learning to protect our marine life

Bowen State High School’s project to breed and monitor growth rates and water quality impacts on barramundi and redclaw has gained a boost.

The project was a successful recipient of a $1000 grant to assist with the study.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the annual EcoPorts grant program helps teach local children about sustainability and environmental principles.

“This school project has a very close link to our port operations, with students set to examine how environmental regulations are established to protect marine life.

“This project will demonstrate how industry and the environment can co-exist,” Mr Lewis said.

Marine Studies teacher Steven Moore said the money would enable the purchase of equipment required to extend their current aquaculture facility to enable redclaw studies.

“The idea from this project has come from community concern over the impact of expansion of Abbot Point Coal Terminal on local marine life,” Mr Moore said.

“We are hoping the results can demonstrate that the environmental guidelines followed by the terminal will have no or minimal impact on native marine life,” he said.

The EcoPorts Grant Program provides a grant of $1000 to primary or secondary schools located within NQBP communities for their use in developing an environmental project or to assist with environmental related curriculum activities.

Other school projects which have been successful this year include:
• St Joseph’s Parish School Weipa – Kitchen garden with bush tucker, guidance from local indigenous groups
• St Francis Xavier Primary School – Landscaping with native plants
• St Patrick’s College, Mackay – Reduce amount of one use plastics, using bamboo and paper
• Mackay State High School – Extension of garden beds to balance nutrients offset from aquaponics system
• Mackay Christian College – Research project on waste issues and waste minimisation “Does it Matter”
• Mackay North State High School – Recycling station for new agricultural construction centre for at-risk students
• St Joseph’s Catholic School, Noth Mackay – Naturescape learning, sensory garden using natural materials, compost and vegetables
• Beaconsfield State School – Sensory garden – learn about lifecycles, linked to science
• Glenella State School – Sustainable Perma-culture garden project – cultivation of fruit and vegies

Maintenance dredging in Weipa

Maintenance dredging at the Port of Weipa is set to commence. Dredge vessel the ‘Brisbane’ will work within the port’s south channel and inner harbour between 17 May and 14 June 2017 inclusive.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the dredging works are an integral part of the port’s operations.

“NQBP manages the annual maintenance dredging program at the Port of Weipa, a program which has run for more than 30 years,” Mr Lewis said.

“Regular maintenance dredging is required to ensure that safe, navigable shipping depths are maintained for our port users such as Rio Tinto,” he said.

“While the maintenance dredging works are being completed we ask that local and visiting boaties take extra care when on the water during this time.

“The ‘Brisbane’, as well as support vessels ‘Norfolk’ and ‘Pacific Conquest’, have restricted manoeuvring capability so we ask people on the water to pay close attention to displayed warning flags and lights,”. Mr Lewis said.

Strict environmental controls and management measures will be implemented throughout the campaign to minimise the risk of any potential impacts on the marine environment.

Investing to unlock local trade opportunities

As Queensland’s new trade strategy is rolling-out North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) is ramping-up its pursuit of increased local trade, with an $11.64 million package of infrastructure improvements for the Port of Mackay.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt said the program of works includes a number of projects aimed at increasing the Port’s capability to attract new trade and larger vessels to the region, as well as improve safety, efficiency and flexibility.

“Coming soon to the Port of Mackay are upgrades to wharf fendering systems, roadworks improvements, removal of redundant marine infrastructure and installation of new lead lights for marine pilotage,” Mr Pitt said.

“The major component of the works includes upgrading the fendering system at Wharves Four and Five.

“This new capability, combined with the recently opened and federally accredited NSS quarantine wash down facility unlocks the potential for the Port of Mackay and sends a strong message to the world that Mackay is open for business.

“Investing in this type of infrastructure not only brings additional local trade and helps grow local jobs, it also supports the future growth of regional Queensland.”

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said this was a testament to the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment

“This is a vote of confidence in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday region’s economy,” she said.

“The works are part of a $22.13 million capital expenditure budget for NQBP over 2016-17, providing jobs and opportunities for regional communities.”

NQBP CEO Steve Lewis said the new fendering system would be like a series of bumpers attached to wharves to absorb the kinetic energy of a berthing vessel and prevent damage to the vessel or the wharf.

“The new fenders have also been especially designed to allow for a growing market of ‘Roll On, Roll Off’ trade, also known as RoRo,” Mr Lewis said.

“RoRo trade can include mining or agricultural equipment, or any cargo on wheels.”

NSS general manager David King said the new wash bay has expanded the scope of the port and provides shippers with the capacity to cleanse imported cargo and meet biosecurity requirements in a controlled environment.

“As a regional Queensland business employing locally, our hope is that NSS’s facility and licencing arrangements will increase trade through the port and rejuvenate industry in this region,” Mr King said.

Project facts:
• $8.5M installation of a new fendering system at Wharf 4 & 5
• $2.6M removal of redundant marine infrastructure
• $460K installation of new lead lights for marine pilotage
• $80K roadworks improvements

Sky’s the limit with helicopter contract

Two world-leading marine pilot transfer helicopters are currently under construction at Mackay airport, as they are readied for service at North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP).

Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the Airbus helicopters were being commissioned after NQBP’s decision to award a contract for the supply of marine helicopter pilot transfer services to local company Mackay Helicopters.

“The NQBP ports of Hay Point and Mackay are two of Queensland most significant economic assets so it’s absolutely essential that and safe and efficient pilotage is essential for their success,” Mr Pitt said.

“The delivery of these aircraft to Mackay Helicopters as part of the new contract is a real boost for a local company, and for the marine pilots who ensure ships safely and efficiently use our ports.

“I can’t wait to see NQBP’s brand new helicopters constructed and helping to guide Queensland trade from the skies.”

Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the helicopter contract was part of a joint tender process run by NQBP and Gladstone Ports Corporation.

“I was particularly pleased that two major Queensland government owned corporations could work together through a robust, competitive tender process,” Mr Bailey said.

“By working together, the decision to place both marine pilot transfer services to market as one parcel of work has helped to achieve the best value for both NQBP and GPC.”

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the Airbus helicopters being commissioned for NQBP are renowned worldwide for their safety and versatility, and are well suited for the transfer of marine pilots on and off ships.

“Over the course of the next few weeks, Mackay Helicopter pilots, who fly on behalf of the Ports, will receive specialist training and simulation,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“The new aircraft for NQBP’s use, will be based at the Port of Hay Point helipad and is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

NQBP Chief Executive Officer, Steve Lewis said helicopters have long been used by ports as the most safe and efficient mode of transport for transferring marine pilots to vessels.

“Helicopters allow port operations to run smoothly, because they can be operated in a wide range of conditions.

“They provide us with rapid response capabilities to any operational needs or in the unlikely event of an emergency”, Mr Lewis said.

Chief Executive Officer of Aviator Group, which operates Mackay Helicopters, Ian Vanderbeek said the new and improved helicopters are at the leading edge of safety standards.

“These new helicopters are the current generation of aircraft and will serve the ports well over the next five to eight years”.                                                               

“We are delighted to be continuing to provide this service to our port operators, who do a great job in ensuring the safe and efficient marine pilotage operation of our trade gateways”.

Mackay Junior Rugby League

Mackay junior rugby league players are invited to join North Queensland Toyota Cowboys greats Matthew Bowen and Brent Tate for a free training session on Thursday 20 April, thanks to North Queensland Bulk Ports community partnership.

The session is open to current JRL players of all ages in the Mackay region, with a focus on fun as participants work through a series of skills and drills stations.

The event is part of next week’s NQ Bulk Ports Blitz in Mackay, with the Cowboys community partner hosting ‘Mango’ and ‘Tatey’ for a series of community visits in the region.

MACKAY JRL TRAINING SESSION 
Skills & drills with Brent Tate and Matthew Bowen!
Designed for ages 6-16 years

Date: Thursday 20 April, 4pm-5pm
Venue: Theo Hansen Park, Andergrove
Parking: Available via Beaconsfield Road
Who’s invited: All current JRL players (6-16 years) signed up with a club in the Mackay region
Cost: Free!

What to bring:
• Enclosed shoes
• Sun-safe clothing
• Hat
• Sunscreen
• Water bottle

Contact
Renee Knust, NRL Game Development Officer
0417 068 132 | rkunst@nrl.com.au

Bowen Jetty back in business

As North Queensland rebuilds after Tropical Cyclone Debbie, another much-loved piece of Bowen’s history has been re-opened to the public.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation’s iconic Bowen Jetty has been re-opened to the public today after sustaining damage to the electrics and timber structure during the storm.

NQBP Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said it is great to see the Bowen Jetty, which this year turns 150 years old, opened once again to the public.

“The re-opening of the Bowen Jetty means all NQBP assets across our northern ports have returned to regular operations,” Mr Lewis said.

“Not only is the Bowen Jetty popular with the Bowen community and tourists, it also serves an operational purpose as the home base for the tug operations used at the Port of Abbot Point.

“It is an important piece of infrastructure for NQBP and it is a credit to our maintenance and engineering teams the jetty was able to be re-opened to the public so soon after the destructive cyclone.”

The re-opening also means keen photographers can get back out on the jetty to get their entries into #BowenJetty150 – NQBP’s photography competition celebrating the milestone birthday.

Mr Lewis said he was also pleased to provide an update on the recovery efforts across NQBP’s east coast ports.

“I’m happy to note all our east coast ports – Hay Point, Mackay and Abbot Point – are open for shipping,” he said.

“Mackay and Hay Point are trading, while the Abbot Point terminal’s owner and operator, Adani, will make the decision as to when operations recommence.”

Letter to the Editor: Mackay Marina and Cyclone Debbie

I was concerned to read your article Damage to Mackay Marina was preventable: manager (10.04.2017, Page 6) in which you stated that North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) did not comment about a proposal for a “nib wall”.

NQBP takes this issue seriously, and provided a detailed response to your reporter via email on Tuesday 4 April, in which we explicitly responded to the suggestions of a “nib wall” at the Mackay Marina.

For the benefit of your readers, and in particular the marina tenants at the facility, it is important that the full story in regard to this issue is presented.

First and foremost, the marina development is privately owned and operated by Port Binnli Group, and responsibility ultimately rests with the development company.

It is also the case that the northerly swell conditions that developed after the centre of TC Debbie passed have been recognised for some considerable time since the development of the Mackay Marina Village Project by Port Binnli in the late 1990s.

In a positive contribution, NQBP has recently spent $24 million upgrading the Southern Breakwater along the Marina section, and it was pleasing to see that the Breakwater held up well in its first big test of extreme weather, with direct benefit to the Marina development.

While NQBP does not have any direct responsibility for works or infrastructure associated with the marina developed by Port Binnli, it has continued to engage with Port Binnli on the “northerly fetch” issue over a number of years, to assist Port Binnli to identify a viable means of mitigating the impact of the northerly fetch.

The difficulty with the “nib wall” suggestion is that NQBP modelling shows it would unacceptably affect wave movement and operations within the main port area, without adequately mitigating the problem in the marina basin itself.

Please be assured we will continue to work with Port Binnli to find the best option and how it may be implemented.

However, it is important to reiterate that as the marina owner, Port Binnli is the responsible party, and any agreed solution would need to be privately funded.

While it was disappointing to see the careless reporting of this important issue in yesterday’s paper, I hope this letter is able to provide greater context for your readers.

Steve Lewis
Chief Executive Officer

All hands on deck at critical Northern Ports

A week after weathering the impact of severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie, significant progress has been made on returning the critical northern ports of Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point to full operations.

Ports Minister Mark Bailey visited Port of Mackay today with Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert who thanks port works who had been working tirelessly across the three ports.

“As you would expect, there has been damage from debris and flooding in the ports,” Mr Bailey said.

“But I am extremely impressed with the way NQBP has been working closely with port terminal operators, tenants and service providers to work towards the resumption of safe port operations.”

Read the full press release.