Domestic medical manufacturing to boost during COVID-19

The Federal Government is working with local industry to increase the domestic production of medical protective equipment, like surgical face masks, sanitiser, goggles and gowns amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Med-Con, a manufacturer near Shepparton in regional Victoria, has already begun increasing production of surgical face masks, with support from the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Industry, science and technology minister Karen Andrews said it was important for government to help local manufacturers by providing new equipment and staff to meet demand.

“There’s a lot of fear in the community at the moment but Australians should know that work is happening to help us best respond to this unfolding crisis,” she said.

“This is important work but it’s also essential we get it right. This equipment needs to be produced to the highest standards.”

The ADF will provide short-term support while Med-Con continues to recruit and train more staff.

Defence minister the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said about a dozen Defence personnel are helping under arrangements by the Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC).

“These skilled soldiers are with the company’s existing staff on production, maintenance and warehousing tasks,” she said.

“The team, which is comprised of highly qualified engineering maintenance specialists from the Army Logistic Training Centre and the Joint Logistics Unit Victoria, are supporting the request.”

The government has submitted a Request for Information (RFI) to further understand existing domestic manufacturing capability and capacities.