Gov support in PPE production for local manufacturer

Kestrel Manufacturing is receiving $495,000 to assist in its production of filter materials used in both surgical and P2 masks.

Clets Linen is receiving $213,000 to increase its capacity to fulfil ongoing orders for disposable isolation gowns for both Australia and abroad.

Nobody Denim is receiving $400,000 to instal up to 20 new sewing machines to produce isolation gowns, while RRJ Engineering will manufacture more plastic PPE components, including hand sanitiser bottles, closures and pumps, with $392,000 in assistance.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said this support will help Australia be more self-sufficient in a crisis – as well as create new export opportunities.

“This is about more than just the here and now of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is about working with our local manufacturers to produce the supplies which will make Australia more safe and secure into the future,” Andrews said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some gaps in our capability to produce essential medical supplies and this will go a long way to addressing that.

“This co-investment will not only develop our local manufacturing capability, it will see staff up-skilled and new opportunities created both directly and indirectly along the supply chain.

“These investments will also help industries heavily impacted by COVID-19, especially the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industry which employs over 31,000 Australians in manufacturing jobs.”

Kestrel Manufacturing will dedicate one of its existing meltblown machines to producing high-quality medical grade filter material that will assist other local companies like Med-Con as it ramps up its annual mask production from a couple of million a year to almost 60 million.

Kestrel Manufacturing general manager Robert Watson said this support is “welcomed by local manufacturing businesses and clearly demonstrates the Government’s support for boosting Australian capability”.

RRJ Engineering Pty Ltd CEO Royston Kent said it “gives industry the confidence to invest in its people, facilities and to update technology”.

“Our project will be unique and will give us the opportunity to add value to our business and the local medical industry,” Kent said.

The Australian Manufacturing Fund for PPE has been established to stimulate business investment in new technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector, with a focus on securing Australia’s sovereign capability.