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1,800 businesses ‘retool’ to provide essential medical supplies

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
14 May 2020 1 minute readShare

Over 1,800 businesses have responded to the NSW government’s call to arms last month, offering to “retool” and manufacture medical equipment and hygiene products that are in short supply due to the coronavirus crisis.

The NSW government has so far engaged with more than 1,600 businesses 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,” Premier Gladys 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.”

In a call to arms in early April, the Premier asked local businesses to redeploy spare capacity to save lives and jobs by pivoting to producing medical products.


Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Industry and Trade John Barilaro said 20 per cent of the businesses making their resources available to the government 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 repurpose their product line to provide medical and cleaning products, to help during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres revealed that thanks to small-business help, the NSW government is confident its PPE requirement 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,” Mr Ayres said.

“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.”

With supply of personal protective equipment and disinfectant expected to be constrained for at least 12 months, NSW companies are being told that further opportunities exist.

Businesses are invited to register their interest here.

1,800 businesses ‘retool’ to provide essential medical supplies
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has an extensive career as a journalist across finance, business and market intelligence. Prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja spent several years unravelling social, political and economic intricacies in Eastern Europe. 

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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