The New South Wales Government has called on manufacturers to help fill gaps in the global supply of medical equipment and hygiene products, redeploying spare capacity to save lives and jobs.
Heavy Vehicle industry Australia (HVIA) has congratulated NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on challenging manufacturers to test their capabilities.
“Many parts of the Australian heavy vehicle industry are already engaged in vital roles, working full steam to support our supply chains,” Mr Hacking said.
“The ongoing technical support, repair and maintenance of the fleet is absolutely vital to ensure the freight task is able to function safely and productively.
“The demand on many areas of the industry has never been greater.
“Others have reluctantly shut their doors, limited output or reverted to split shifts in order to comply with health and safety regulations imposed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Mr Hacking posed the question whether other HVIA members could rise to the challenge.
“Perhaps there are other members who are looking for opportunities to contribute, and this challenge might be just what the doctor ordered.”
“We extend the call to arms to all Australian manufacturers to consider if production lines can be converted to make the items we so desperately need,” he said.
Ms Berejiklian said the world was running short on hand sanitiser, handwash soap, gloves, cleaning products, protective clothing, masks, eyewear and paper products.
Importantly, providing this opportunity to manufacturers will also allow some businesses to keep people in jobs when they may not have been able to do so.”
Local alcohol makers are already converting to produce items such as hand sanitiser, while other firms have switched to face masks, providing much-needed equipment while keeping their business going and safeguarding jobs.
With supply of Personal Protective Equipment and disinfectant expected to be constrained for at least 12 months, further opportunities exist for other companies to join them.
The NSW Government launched a portal today for companies to offer to build parts or supply urgently needed items during the COVID-19 crisis.
They will use information provided through the portal to connect the supply chain so more finished products can be provided where needed.
Meanwhile South Australian Premier Steven Marshall shared news of an Adelaide success story this week.
“South Australian packaging company Detmold Group will employ an extra 160 staff to produce 145 million respirator and surgical masks,” the Premier said.
“They’ve diversified their operations in the face of the coronavirus crisis, helping protect our doctors and nurses on the frontline.”
Mr Hacking suggested that the skills on hand within the heavy vehicle industry might be well utilised if manufacturers can re-tool quickly.
“Our industry succeeds because of the diverse range of skills that allow for great customisation of our products, to suit the endless ranges of tasks our customers perform” Mr Hacking said.
“If it means filling the void and providing the essential protection our hospital and medical workers need, I know our members will want to apply their famous ingenuity to find solutions.”
“And if that means we get to keep more people in jobs, then all the better.”
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