Topics: Aussie manufacturer pivoting to make masks for coronavirus
David Koch: A South Australian company that makes packaging for McDonalds and KFC will soon start making surgical and respirator masks for frontline health workers around the country. Detmold has come to an agreement with the Federal and South Australian Government to produce 145 million masks as demand skyrockets.
Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews joins me now. Minister, this is pivoting at its absolute best, isn’t it? Just how will these masks be available?
Karen Andrews: Look, good morning. This is absolutely pivoting at its best. So what we had was one Australian company that manufactured masks. We’ve now had Detmold put their hands up, they manufacture packaging, so they’ve not manufactured masks before. They’ve put their hand up, they’re going to start producing surgical masks and P2 masks for us and it’s going to bring in another 145 million masks in total into the Australia the market.
So good on Detmold. I mean it’s a fantastic story. They’re going to be employing an extra 160 people or so people in there. But congratulations. I am so proud of the Aussie spirit, I’m so proud of Detmold.
David Koch: So did you go to them or did they come to you and say: hey, we reckon we can do this with our production line and our staff?
Karen Andrews: Look, a bit of both. So discussions were happening with the South Australian Government and Detmold – they’re an SA-based company. We actually then started talking to both the South Australian Government and Detmold, and the outcome is that 45 million masks will go directly to South Australia through the South Australian Government and 100 million masks will come federally for distribution right around Australia.
David Koch: Okay. If other businesses are thinking – gee, I could be involved in that – what more do you need? Do you need other supplies that we could produce here?
Karen Andrews: Yeah. We’re looking at a whole range of things. I mean, later this week there’s going to be a roundtable with textile and clothing manufacturers to look at the production of gowns. So we know that we need some more gowns. We’re trying to procure those but we’re looking at Australian textile businesses, clothing businesses, to see how they can step up. The response has just been overwhelming. So we put out a request for information about maybe two weeks ago now and there’s already been over 340 businesses put their hand up, saying they’re prepared to do what it takes. It’s brilliant. It’s brilliant.
David Koch: That’s fantastic. Okay Minister. Thank you for that. Appreciate your time – and Nat, I’ve been told the masks don’t smell like chicken nuggets.