Steph Cooke and two representatives from Brumby Aircraft stand in front of a bright red prop aeroplane.

The NSW Nationals have ramped up their commitment to COVID safety by announcing a $5 million grants scheme for the domestic manufacturing of PPE supplies and the creation of jobs.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the NSW Government put out a call to arms for manufacturers to repurpose earlier this year and this scheme will further support domestic manufacturing of PPE in NSW.

“This funding will allow companies to repurpose or ramp up their production of PPE by providing grants to help fund equipment, raw materials and the recruitment of skilled staff to manufacture PPE items needed in the fight against COVID-19,” Ms Cooke said.

“In April and May this year we put out a call to arms for manufacturers to help produce PPE to keep our communities safe and our business sector listened.

“Nearly 2,000 companies from across NSW answered our call to register their ability to supply PPE through the Government’s Emergency Supplies Portal and local manufacturers and suppliers who registered to provide PPE have also been listed in a directory on the Buy NSW website. The list has already been downloaded over 4,000 times.”

“We’ve seen companies in the Cootamundra electorate move to manufacturing Perspex safety screens instead of plane windscreens, such as Brumby Aircraft, and distilleries like Bluestill and the Junee Licorice Company switch from producing spirits to hand sanitizer.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the new grants will be awarded to manufacturers who can demonstrate their ability to ramp up or repurpose their ability to manufacture items including masks, gowns, disinfectant, hand-wash and soap or their components,

“We have relied on imports for far too long and this scheme is part of the NSW Nationals in Government’s commitment to ramping up domestic manufacturing in NSW, developing regular supply and creating vital jobs” Mr Barilaro said.

“It is unthinkable that in a country like Australia we would ever have insufficient access to PPE and this funding will go towards maintaining the critical supply of equipment to our frontline health workers.

“This will reduce our dependence on imports and provide a secure source for government and industry’s future needs.”

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