Queensland manufacturers are stepping up like never before to provide essential products for health workers and communities in response to the coronavirus.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland’s manufacturers and producers have come forward to make and deliver urgently needed on-going supplies of vital personal protection equipment.
“Their generosity, creativity and agility as we get ready for an expected surge of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals has been nothing short of inspiring,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We are facing huge challenges as a state and nation and every Queenslander owes these businesses a very big thanks as they step up production, extend their reach and go above and beyond in the fight against the coronavirus.
“I tasked Minister Cameron Dick with looking after the supply chain and things have moved very rapidly.”
The Premier said the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning will be providing financial assistance of $1.2 million to Logan’s Evolve Group to urgently start making disposable N95 medical masks in high volume.
The N95 mask is the highest quality surgical mask available for frontline healthcare workers and can help to filter out fine particles.
The Premier said the agreement that has been signed with Evolve Group ensures that Queensland has priority access to its own manufactured supply of urgently needed face masks to support frontline health workers and the broader community.
Local Queensland manufacturers are also making other products, including sought after hand sanitizers.
Ms Palaszczuk said it is imperative Queensland establish and maintain a domestic production capacity for PPE now and into the future beyond this crisis.
“We can and we must make these lifesaving products in Queensland.
“We are prepared to back our manufacturers with long term offtake agreements to ensure they keep manufacturing them here.
Queensland Health and the Department of Housing and Public Works have agreed to purchase masks from Evolve Group for a three-year period to support the health system.
Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the Evolve Group is just one of many Queensland companies gearing up to manufacture large volumes of essential goods.
“Evolve is a great Queensland manufacturing story, and today’s announcement could see around 60,000 N95 face masks manufactured each day to help meet the ongoing need for personal protective equipment,” Mr Dick said.
“This will support workers in health, community support, mining, construction and food processing. All going well, we are aiming to have the first batch produced within eight weeks,” Mr Dick said.
“The Queensland Government is supporting Evolve Group to secure the equipment and raw materials of two automated face mask manufacturing lines to get us up and running.”
Ai Group’s Queensland head Rebecca Andrews said now is the time for Queensland manufacturers to be diversify their businesses and make a real difference in this critical time.
“It’s great to see another local manufacturer rising to the challenge of combatting COVID-19, in this instance by manufacturing N95 face masks which are vitally needed.”
Evolve Group’s Managing Director Ty Hermans said the company was proud to be able to put its hand up to help.
“We have always prided ourselves on our ability to design award-winning products and rapidly solve complex engineering challenges, but this is certainly our most important project – something we have been training for since we started our reshoring mission back in 2006,” Mr Hermans said.
“We are proud of our ability to apply our Queensland-based advanced plastics manufacturing facility and skills to a mission-critical project like this, supporting our frontline medical teams and others that are sacrificing so much right now.
“Securing supply of critical products like this by reshoring the manufacturing in Australia has to be a priority for all Australians now and into the future. Being Australian-made also ensures the production of high-quality products.”
Mr Dick said the Department of State Development will continue to identify manufacturers around the state who can quickly transition to the production of critically needed supplies.
“Queenslanders can be assured the state’s health and manufacturing systems are world-class and we are well-positioned to confront the challenge ahead,” Mr Dick said.
If you’re a manufacturer able to help fill supply gaps, go to qld.gov.au/qld-supplies