OVER 1,800 businesses from across NSW have answered the government’s call for locals to fill the medical supply chain, helping stabilise stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the government had engaged with more than 1,600 businesses so far and ordered critical items including face masks and shields, hand sanitiser, disinfectants, gloves, surgical gowns and paper products through the Emergency Supplies portal.
“We’ve received an overwhelming response to our call for assistance to meet demand for these key protective products, which prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I’m proud so many local suppliers and manufacturers have acted quickly to source or produce equipment that protects our emergency and frontline medical workers serving our community in this time of urgent need.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Industry and Trade John Barilaro said 20 per cent of the businesses listed on the portal are from regional NSW.
“We know businesses in regional NSW are struggling, having dealt with drought, bushfires and now COVID-19,” Mr Barilaro said.
“However, people in the bush are resilient and resourceful and that’s never been more evident than now as companies re-purpose their product line to provide medical and cleaning products, to help during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Small businesses are the backbone of regional towns, providing employment and services and it’s great to see them reskilling their workforce during the COVID-19 crisis, keeping locals employed and dollars flowing.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said a team from across Government had been working to contact over 1,800 businesses who had registered on the portal, assessing their capability to meet strict Therapeutic Goods Administration standards.
“Less than a month ago we faced a global shortage of PPE products, and the Premier and I issued our call for businesses to step up and help meet this urgent challenge,” Mr Ayres said.
“Today, thanks in part to their efforts, we’re confident our requirements can be met in the medium term. We have identified hundreds of new suppliers of these critical products through this process and it has shone a light on the tremendous capability and resourcefulness of NSW companies.”
“We know that local governments, businesses and industry also rely on access to this important equipment for their day-to-day operation.”
To ensure businesses also have access to these critical products, the NSW Government is helping industry connect with these suppliers through the launch of a new, public COVID-19 Emergency Supplies Portal.
“We encourage industry to use this Portal to identify suppliers that can service industry needs across a range of PPE products through business-to-business transactions,” Mr Ayres said.
“Our focus will now also move towards establishing domestic supply chains and supporting local manufacturers capable of reducing our reliance on imports.”
Local governments and industry can access local PPE suppliers by visiting buy.nsw.gov.au and businesses can still register their interest to supply at nsw.gov.au.