The Australian chemistry industry has geared up to help protect Australians and the economy against threats from COVID-19.
To help ensure it continues this critical role, the industry has vigorously cautioned against shuttering the sector as part of new rules to halt non-essential activity in Australia.
Chemistry Australia CEO Samantha Read said Australia’s chemistry industry has expanded its domestic production, which includes inputs into essential sectors such as hospitals, health, pharmaceutical and sanitation, agriculture and food, water and sewerage, and mining and energy.
The industry has also positioned itself to redirect its significant manufacturing capability to meet Government and industry demand for an expanded range of products currently facing shortages.
“Our sector manufactures and supplies raw materials and other products to 108 of Australia’s 114 industries, which are crucial to supporting and preserving the health of the Australian community,” Ms Read said.
“As the third largest manufacturing sector, our industry has much-needed manufacturing capacity, quality control and scientific and technical know-how to supply the Australian community as it works to overcome the current crisis.”
“Many of our chemical manufacturers are being approached to adapt their manufacturing facilities to meet the unprecedented demand for a broad range of products, including sanitiser and PPE.
“However, this additional capacity will be lost if they are forced to close under new rules.
“It is vital that any new measures are coordinated and well-focused to increase and diversify critical manufacturing capability, not prevent it.
“We are also concerned about decisions to close State borders, which could prevent the flow of ingredients and finished goods.
“Were this to occur, the flow of products like chlorine, which is essential to water treatment, will be hindered and may result in additional, unnecessary complications at a time where streamlining and increased efficiencies are vital.
“The industry is doing all it can to assist State and Federal Governments by leveraging its capability.
“We ask Governments to continue to engage with us and our members so that we can provide advice on the implications of any new proposals.”
Inputs supplied by the Australian chemistry industry range from raw materials that are key to the manufacture of personal protective and medical equipment, sanitisers, disinfectants and cleaning products.
It also produces, supplies and distributes water treatments, food, beverage and goods packaging, as well as products that enable food production such as crop protection products, fertilisers and irrigation.