Shoalhaven News

New contract presents big boost for Nowra company


There's good news for Nowra business Opstar which has won a $12 million contract to provide search and rescue services at naval base HMAS Albatross.

Opstar managing director John Giffard said the new contract extended an arrangement that had been going for the past five years, and which last year saw his company respond to 60 incidents.

He said the contract made the most of says Opstar's specialist capabilities to locate, access and extricate people if difficult circumstances.

"We have to be ready at one minute's notice for military flying operations, but as part of that we do a bunch of other things as well and it's all those put together that make it quite an enjoyable contract to perform," Mr Giffard said.

Opstar has two key contracts with Defence, as well as fulfilling differing roles with a range of other organisations locally and nationally.

"We do quite a few jobs for Defence generally and we also provide services for other Commonwealth departments ,and we will occasionally enjoy assisting the state-based services if they ask for it," Mr Giffard said.

Opstar's work has been praised by Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price.

She said Opstar had been instrumental in developing search and rescue capability to prepare for a wide variety of situations including aviation emergency response, first response medical treatment and extraction and recovery services both day and night.

And Ms Price said the contract was a testament to the strength of defence industry in Nowra and the South Coast region.


“Opstar has been instrumental in developing the search and rescue capability to prepare for a wide variety of potential incidents that may occur at HMAS Albatross and associated training areas,” Ms Price said.

“This contract will ensure that our Navy personnel receive crucial emergency response services if and when they need."

The contract will allow Opstar to continue providing aviation emergency response and land based rescue services at HMAS Albatross until mid-2023, with the option of two one-year extensions.

“The government is committed to supporting our local defence industry and this contract recognises Opstar’s exceptional performance and dedication to Defence,” Ms Price said.

“Opstar employs nearly 50 employees in the Nowra region and these jobs have been secured as a result of this contract.”

Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said this was an important investment to help build and maintain Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities, but more importantly, saving lives.  

“The Morrison Government is investing in the best possible capability for our defence industry, and it is great that a local business will be playing a leading role in search and rescue operations for Navy personnel in Nowra,” Mr Molan said.

“This contract will not only facilitate essential emergency response services, but also continue to support local jobs and support families in the electorate of Gilmore.”

Images: Opstar / Facebook

Tags: shoalhaven, defence, navy, HMAS Albatross, Jim Molan, Australian Defence Force, Opstar