Neil Druce and Steph Cooke hold hand sanitiser and smile at the camera.

Hundreds of businesses from regional areas including Junee and Barellan have answered the NSW Government’s call to fill gaps in the medical supply chain and help stabilise stocks of urgently needed equipment for the fight against COVID-19 and other vital goods.   

Deputy Premier, and Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade, John Barilaro, congratulated Junee Licorice and Chocolate and Whispering Pines Organics for supporting the NSW Government’s Emergency Supplies portal initiative.

“Last month we faced a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face masks and shields, hand sanitiser, disinfectants, gloves, surgical gowns and paper products,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The Government asked suppliers and manufacturers to help meet demand by registering relevant capacity on the portal, and we received an overwhelming response. Over 1,800 firms have registered and I’m proud to say many are from regional NSW.

“Today, thanks partly to their efforts, we’re confident we have now secured adequate stocks of PPE to meet our medium-term needs.”

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said Junee Licorice and acted quickly to begin producing supplies of hand sanitiser needed by frontline emergency and medical workers to help prevent the virus spreading, Whispering Pines in Barellan ramped up their production of flour to meet demand from local communities.

“It’s fantastic to see local companies like these playing such an important role in our national effort to fight COVID-19,” Ms Cooke said.

“Not only are they helping save lives, they are also preserving jobs and livelihoods in our region, and are ensuring vital goods continue to be available. Their ingenuity and hard work is a great example of how individuals and communities are rallying together in this challenging time.”

State Government procurement orders have commenced through the portal and the Government is also helping local government, businesses and industry connect with suppliers through a new, public PPE supplies portal for industry and the community, launched today.

“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 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 this time, keeping locals employed and dollars coming back into the town.”

Local governments and industry can access local PPE suppliers by visiting https://buy.nsw.gov.au/news/2020/ppe-supplies-portal-for-industry-and-the-community.