Joint media release
- Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
- Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester MP
Defence has concluded its support to Med-Con Pty Ltd, a surgical face mask manufacturer near Shepparton in regional Victoria, having significantly increased production at the facility.
Australian Defence Force (ADF) support commenced at the factory on 7 March 2020 as part of the Government’s national response to COVID-19.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said 2.6 million surgical masks were produced during the ADF’s support.
“Prior to the ADF providing support, the company, which was Australia’s only producer of the masks, was making around two million per year,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Now, thanks to the ADF, Med-Con has significantly increased its production, and is currently capable of making up to 50 million masks per year with plans to increase this to 200 million per year.”
Highly qualified personnel from the ADF and Department of Defence provided support to existing Med-Con Pty Ltd staff on production, machine operations training, maintenance, repair and warehousing.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Government is acting decisively and effectively to help businesses boost their industrial capacity to meet the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are using all the resources at our disposal to help Australian businesses provide vital supplies in this battle against COVID-19,” Minister Andrews said.
“We will continue to work with manufacturers to help them provide the vital products that Australians need during this challenging time.”
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the ADF support has not only increased production of surgical masks, but also continued supply to health services in Australia.
“It is a great example of Defence and civilian personnel working together in a common national cause to lift our industrial output. It shows the sort of flexibility and creative thinking we need to employ in this fight,” Mr Chester said.
“The incredible value-add also showcases the skills and expertise our veterans can bring to the civilian workforce once they transition from the defence force.”
Med-Con Pty Ltd Director Ray Stockwell praised the ADF’s support, singling out the refurbishment of a broken machine as critical to the successful increase in production.
“Our estimate to bring the broken machine back to life was around 12 weeks. The ADF personnel did it in less than two, and at the same time completed a series of engineering drawings to aid with the manufacture of future machines.”
The ADF continues to support the Whole-of-Government effort to address the impacts of COVID-19.
Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20201178
Further information on the ADF support to the Government’s COVID-19 response is available at: http://news.defence.gov.au/national/defence-response-covid-19