Ten NSW manufacturers have shared in $5 million in funding from the state government to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), supporting domestic and international markets during COVID-19 and boosting local jobs.
The grants, reaching up to $500,000 each, have enabled the production of face masks, gloves, disinfectant and medical-grade hand wash and soap, according to deputy premier John Barilaro.
“When COVID-19 first hit last year, we realised how important it was for Australia to reduce its dependence on PPE imports and to shore up local manufacturing for our future needs,” Barilaro said.
“The demand for PPE remains high both here and internationally and the NSW government is pleased to support our local businesses, to pivot from their traditional practices and produce the materials desperately needed for export.
“NSW’s management of COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for innovative home-grown businesses to not only support Australian citizens with PPE, but to export these critical products to our international neighbours,” he said.
“These grants are supporting companies across NSW including five regional businesses to create new jobs, boost local economies and strengthen our manufacturing export capability in the longer-term.”
One of the grants benefitted Envirus, a new joint venture between Newcastle-based industrial PPE manufacturer Maddison Safety and wetsuit manufacturer Sharkskin International.
The funding allowed the businesses to purchase additional machinery and equipment to increase capacity to retool and produce P2 face masks. Sharkskin focused on the business-to-customer market, while Maddison Safety centred on the business-to-business market.
Both companies agree the PPE funding is a great initiative for Australian manufacturing.
“The grant has supplemented the investment we made during the height of COVID in 2020, helping us to purchase new machinery and secure more staff and training to keep up with demand,” Maddison Safety managing director Tim Maddison said.
“While COVID-19 has impacted domestic business in our traditional markets Sharkskin International’s Domestic Manufacturing of PPE grant will help the business to scale-up production and further pursue international markets,” Sharkskin International managing director Shane Holiday said.