WA calls on PPE manufacturers

The Western Australian Government has launched an initiative to encourage further manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the state.

PPE providers, including those servicing the mining sector are invited to be a part of the PPE shortage solution under the initiative.

Some mining companies have already offered up their services to manufacture products that are in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mining giant Rio Tinto.

In April, Rio Tinto Aluminium offered up its Bell Bay laboratory in Tasmania, Yarwun refinery in Queensland and New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) to develop hand sanitiser as demand for this product had skyrocketed.

Chemists and researchers used the space to develop hand sanitiser formulas that met World Health Organisation (WHO) standards to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

With PPE suppliers at the forefront of the state’s preparation for any potential increase in COVID-19 cases, the government is encouraging innovative PPE solutions to establish a long-term manufacturing presence in Western Australia.

The targeted items include reusable face masks, anti-fog face shields, examination and surgical gloves, isolation and surgical gowns, N95 and surgical masks, safety glasses and swabs and collection tubes.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan said boosting local manufacturing opportunities to create jobs was one of the government’s key priorities as the state recovered from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a strong commitment to helping industry and business succeed through a clear, consistent and transparent process,” McGowan said.

“It is vital we are able to harness good ideas and promote private sector investment. This helps give local businesses confidence to establish themselves, make local products and ensures jobs are kept in Western Australia.”

The state’s Health Minister Roger Cook added that protecting Western Australia’s health care workers and the wider community remained “critically important” even as COVID-19 cases dwindled across the state.

“We are inviting reputable or proven healthcare manufacturers to be a part of the Western Australian health system response, now and in the future,” Cook said.

“The McGowan Government and Western Australian health system have worked tirelessly over the past six months to secure much-needed PPE.

“This (initiative) provides an opportunity to secure long-term supplies of PPE while also supporting the economic recovery of Western Australia.”

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