Qld manufacturer helps combat COVID-19 with N95 masks

Wednesday, 08 April, 2020

Qld manufacturer helps combat COVID-19 with N95 masks

Queensland manufacturers are stepping up to provide essential products for health workers and communities, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The state’s manufacturers and producers have come forward to make and deliver urgently needed ongoing supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Their generosity, creativity and agility as we get ready for an expected surge of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals has been nothing short of inspiring,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “We are facing huge challenges as a state and nation and every Queenslander owes these businesses a very big thanks as they step up production, extend their reach and go above and beyond in the fight against the coronavirus. I tasked Minister Cameron Dick with looking after the supply chain and things have moved very rapidly.”

The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning will be providing financial assistance of $1.2 million to Logan’s Evolve Group to start making disposable N95 masks in high volume. The N95 mask is the highest quality surgical mask available for frontline healthcare workers and can help filter out fine particles.

“We are proud of our ability to apply our Queensland-based advanced plastics manufacturing facility and skills to a mission-critical project like this, supporting our frontline medical teams and others that are sacrificing so much right now,” Ty Hermans, Managing Director of Evolve Group, said. “Securing supply of critical products like this by reshoring the manufacturing in Australia has to be a priority for all Australians now and into the future. Being Australian made also ensures the production of high-quality products.”

The Premier said the agreement that has been signed with Evolve Group ensures that Queensland has priority access to its own manufactured supply of urgently needed face masks to support frontline health workers and the broader community. The Premier also emphasised the importance of establishing and maintaining a domestic production capacity for PPE now and into the future, beyond this crisis. Local Queensland manufacturers are also making other products, including hand sanitisers.

“We can and we must make these lifesaving products in Queensland,” Palaszczuk said. “We are prepared to back our manufacturers with long-term offtake agreements to ensure they keep manufacturing them here.” Queensland Health and the Department of Housing and Public Works have agreed to purchase masks from Evolve Group for a three-year period, to support the health system.

Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick said the Evolve Group is just one of many Queensland companies gearing up to manufacture large volumes of essential goods. “Evolve is a great Queensland manufacturing story, and this announcement could see around 60,000 N95 face masks manufactured each day to help meet the ongoing need for personal protective equipment,” Dick said. “This will support workers in health, community support, mining, construction and food processing. All going well, we are aiming to have the first batch produced within eight weeks.”

The Queensland Government will also support Evolve Group to secure the equipment and raw materials of two automated face mask manufacturing lines. Ai Group’s Queensland Head Rebecca Andrews said now is the time for Queensland manufacturers to diversify their businesses. “It’s great to see another local manufacturer rising to the challenge of combatting COVID-19, in this instance by manufacturing N95 face masks which are vitally needed,” Andrews said.

The Department of State Development will continue to identify manufacturers around the state who can transition to the production of critically needed supplies. Manufacturers who are able to fill supply gaps are encouraged to visit qld.gov.au/qld-supplies.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/gilz_r

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