Mighty Queensland manufacturers to strengthen local PPE capability

Image Credit: Queensland Government
Media Release

Queensland business will shore up the state’s ability to produce PPE in the face of pandemics thanks to funding from the Queensland Government’s $50 million Essential Goods and Supply Chain Program.

Acting Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles visited Tingalpa manufacturer, Crystalaid Manufacture, to announce funding for three manufacturers to boost manufacturing capability, in the wake of the impacts from COVID-19.

Mr Miles said that with Covid-19 completely changing the way of life for Queenslanders, the State is continuing to recognise the need to strengthen local PPE manufacturing capability.

“As part of the Queensland Government’s strategy to Unite and Recover for Queensland jobs, we’re continuing to support Queensland businesses and manufacturers to expand their production capacity, especially in the area of health PPE and medical devices,” Mr Miles said.

“By continuing to back our mighty manufacturing sector, we’re further boosting Queensland’s ability to respond quickly at a State level and to also join the global pandemic response.

“These businesses can now reprioritise or pivot production to produce ventilators, medical scrubs, and PPE testing equipment, to protect our communities and front-line health care heroes.”

“The program also has the potential to create hundreds more jobs for the manufacturing sector.

Business announced today:

  • Tingalpa based Crystalaid, will gain the relevant certification needed to produce medical devices including ventilators.
  • Acacia Ridge based Belgotex Fabrics, Queensland’s only major textile manufacturer, will diversify into tight weave fabrics needed to make frontline health workers’ medical scrubs uniforms and more.
  • Northgate based Olitek will manufacture large volumes of high-quality, functional, TGA-accredited OzVader ventilators.
  • Mr Miles said Crystalaid was a 70-year-old Queensland micro-electronics company and part of the Grabbas Group, which currently employs 42 staff, with 20 involved in hands on manufacturing.

“Crystalaid originally focused on medical device manufacture and is best known for manufacturing the Cochlear device up until the mid-2000s,” Mr Miles said.

“The company will use this funding to return to their roots and gain the relevant certification needed to produce medical devices including ventilators.

“They will also develop a plan that will enable them to stand up and produce ventilators should we find ourselves or our allies in a position to need them.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said today’s announcement was great news for Queensland.

“We have seen over the past year how critical it is to be able to manufacture PPE and other essential goods in Queensland,” she said.

“This funding means businesses like Crystalaid can keep their employees working through tough times, as they pivot to produce necessary items like ventilators.

“It’s a testament to the resilience and innovation of our small businesses, that they are able to reprioritise their production, and skill up when required.”

Ross McKinnon from Crystalaid said that investment in a manufacturing capability plan will provide the opportunity to keep staff engaged and employed during a time when economic recovery is critical for Queensland.

“Crystalaid has most recently been primarily a manufacturer for the defence industry with their AS9100D (aerospace and defence) certification, but this is an opportunity for us to get prepared to assist the community whenever needed as one of the local manufacturers of the highest quality of specialized devices,” he said.

“Our company’s development of a medical manufacturing capability plan to produce medical devices onshore including ventilators will also bring supply chain benefits via key partnerships with local suppliers of materials and expertise.

“We appreciate the support of the Queensland Government and are excited to move forward with our plans of boosting local medical manufacturing capability.”

The Queensland Government’s Essential Goods and Supply Chain Program was established to ensure Queensland manufacturers can reprioritise or pivot production and make essential goods such as personal protective equipment, health consumables and devices.