Brendale healthcare manufacturer Aspen Medical will be at the frontline of the State Government’s promise to ensure 25 percent of the Personal Protective Equipment it buys is made in Queensland.
The government is mobilising the state’s multi-billion-dollar manufacturing sector to deliver locally made PPE, including face masks, hand sanitiser and ventilators for frontline health and essential workers.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Aspen Medical Manufacturing to announce the government’s commitment to sourcing at least 25 percent of PPE from local manufacturers.
Aspen Medical has received government support and produces two million face masks a month, with plans to lift production capacity to four million masks a month by mid-October.
Aspen Medical founder and executive chairman Glenn Keys says the company made more than a million “other type” masks in June and has recently ramped up production of the more clinical N95 masks.
“Our Queensland facility will produce PPE to the highest Australian standards and ultimately source all raw material from within Australia,” Glenn says.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the government will also establish a new PPE testing facility at Meadowbrook.
“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge we’ve ever had to face and it’s far from over,” the Premier says.
“While our immediate priority is making sure we’re keeping our frontline health professionals safe with the PPE supplies we currently have, it is also critical that we build supplies for the future.
“That means we’re protecting Queenslanders against future pandemics but we’re also increasing local manufacturing, which is critical for our economic recovery and creating jobs.”
The Premier says the pandemic has shown just how important it is to eliminate supply chain risks and establish domestic production capacity for vital products and equipment.
Treasurer and Minister for Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick says PPE used in Australia has previously been imported because there has not been manufacturing capability.
“Before COVID-19 only five per cent of Australia’s medical masks were produced in Australia – at a small factory in Shepparton Victoria,” Mr Dick says.
“By backing our manufacturing sector, Queensland has more capacity to respond to crises like this pandemic.”
Assistant Minister for Health and Member for Pine Rivers Nikki Boyd says Aspen Medical expects 35 new full-time jobs will be created in the first year of operation, growing Queensland’s base of highly skilled workers.
“I’m so pleased we’ve been able to back a local manufacturing company with government support under the $150 million Industry Attraction Fund,” Ms Boyd says.
“The company has invested approximately $2 million to purchase cutting-edge machines to produce three-ply and N95 face masks, to fit out the factory and commission the machinery to not only support Queenslanders, but also to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in some of the worst-affected areas.
“Having a manufacturing plant like this in our community is great for Pine Rivers locals. Not only is it instrumental in fighting coronavirus, manufacturing is vital for jobs growth in the northern suburbs.”