Sydney (Tribune International, NSW Govt Release, 7 July, 2021): Ten NSW manufacturers have received a share in $5 million of NSW Government funding to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to support domestic and international markets through COVID-19 and boost local jobs.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the grants of up to $500,000 each have enabled the production of face masks, gloves, disinfectant and medical-grade handwash and soap.

“When COVID-19 first hit last year, we realised how important it was for Australia to reduce its dependence on PPE imports and to shore up local manufacturing for our future needs,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The demand for PPE remains high both here and internationally and the NSW Government is pleased to support our local businesses to pivot from their traditional practices and produce the materials desperately needed for export.

“NSW’s management of COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for innovative home-grown businesses to not only support Australian citizens with PPE, but to export these critical products to our international neighbours.

“These grants are supporting companies across NSW, including five regional businesses, to create new jobs, boost local economies and strengthen our manufacturing export capability in the longer-term.”

Envirus is a new joint venture enabled by the funding between Newcastle-based industrial PPE manufacturer Maddison Safety and wetsuit manufacturer Sharkskin International.

The funding has supported the businesses to purchase additional machinery and equipment to increase their capacity to retool and produce P2 face masks, with Sharkskin focusing on the business to customer market and Maddison Safety the business to business market.

Tim Maddison, Managing Director, Maddison Safety and Shane Holiday, Managing Director, Sharkskin International said that this is a great initiative for Australian manufacturing.

“The grant has supplemented the investment we made during the height of COVID in 2020, helping us to purchase new machinery and secure more staff and training to keep up with demand,” Mr Maddison said.

“While COVID-19 has impacted domestic business in our traditional markets Sharkskin International’s Domestic Manufacturing of PPE grant will help the business to scale-up production and further pursue international markets,” added Mr Holiday.

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