Local company gets Vic gov backing to develop ventilators

The Victorian government has announced it will support  leading local technology commercialisation and engineering company, Grey Innovation, who has secured a licence from a leading global manufacturer to develop ventilators in Australia.

Jobs, Innovation and Trade minister Martin Pakula announced with the backing of a $500,000 government grant, Richmond-based Grey Innovation is well advanced to establish a local consortium to manufacture the life-saving machines.

“We’re moving to fast-track the local production of ventilators, so that hospitals and health-care workers can continue their extraordinary efforts in caring for those of us who need it most,” Pakula said.

“A local manufacturer of these life-saving machines will help us respond to coronavirus cases and help save Victorian and Australian lives.”

The company is now working with local suppliers and a network of world-class engineering and advanced manufacturing operators to advance the project.

“Victoria’s high concentration of engineering and manufacturing companies means we’re well-placed to develop the ventilators quickly, and Grey Innovation is proud to be leading the effort,” Grey Innovation executive chairman Jefferson Harcourt said.

The statement noted that Victorian government is supporting local industry to produce ventilators to help equip our healthcare system as it deals with coronavirus, with a key international licensing agreement secured. It also mentions that the government intends to order 2,000 locally made ventilators, with the first Victorian-produced machines potentially available in June.

The state government is also supporting other Victorian manufacturers, including Ballarat-based Gekko Systems, to advance plans to produce ventilators.

It is understood that once established, the fast-tracked local industry could provide a material boost to Victoria’s, and potentially Australia’s, supply of ventilators, which are a vital part of the intensive-care treatment in acute coronavirus cases.

Victorian hospitals currently have about 1000 ventilators, with thousands more on order from overseas following the Victorian Government’s $1.3 billion funding injection to buy medical equipment and consumables, including oxygen units, dialysis machines, patient monitors and millions of gloves, masks and gowns.

This funding also includes $65 million for capital works and workforce training, strengthening Victoria’s healthcare sector and improving our ability to actively respond to coronavirus.