Call for PPE suppliers in Western Australia

ICNWA is working with the Western Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation to identify businesses who have the capability or potential to manufacture or supply personal protective equipment (PPE).

The department has launched a project page on ICN Gateway seeking expressions of interest for businesses with manufacturing capability supplies such as surgical gowns, face masks, goggles, hand sanitisers and more.

“While the pandemic response has resulted in a massive reduction in business for some companies, the huge international demand for medical supplies to deal with COVID-19 has the potential to positively affect local businesses,” ICNWA manager Ray Loh said.

“One of the state government activities to help with both these issues has been to call for input from the local business community to help fill supply chain gaps created by the impacts of COVID-19.

“The department is not just looking for businesses that are already in the medical equipment supply chain.

“We encourage willing businesses that are in a position to adapt their current processes or collaborate with others to make the needed equipment to get involved. ICN WA is able to offer advice and support on how to navigate this, for instance, resources on TGA requirements, list of labs that conduct testing of products and so forth.”

One such business to take advantage of the need for PPE is metal fabrication company Adarsh Australia, which has made 10,000 face shields to protect frontline health workers.

The face shield was developed in collaboration with The University of Western Australia (UWA), Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and the Western Australian Department of Health, and fast tracked to production in just two weeks.

Associate Professor Brendan Kennedy and Dr Lachlan Kelsey designed the prototypes of the shields, working collaboratively with the Chief Scientist of Western Australia Professor Peter Klinken.

In a media release from UWA, Professor Kennedy said the engineers and project partners had seen an urgent need to support healthcare workers with PPE.

“During this pandemic a lot of PPE has been in short supply and face shields are one of the items critical to protecting health care workers,” Professor Kennedy said.

“It’s vitally important that we protect frontline health workers and ensure that they don’t risk their lives as they care for others.

“Only through protection of those responding to the pandemic can we ensure we enable those people to do the best job they can in keeping us safe.”

While COVID-19 has brought some opportunities, the resource sector has slowed a little with Woodside Browse and Scarborough have their Financial Investment Decision (FID) deferred till next year; and Shell Crux FID has been deferred at least 12 months.

Meanwhile, both Rio Tinto and BHP have flagged cuts in capital expenditure due to COVID-19 restrictions. Rio Tinto is expected to slash capex by at least $3.2bn this calendar year but say their respective replacement iron ore projects in the Pilbara remain on track. BHP has not yet quantified its cut.

However, neither Rio’s Koodaideri nor BHP’s South Flank appear to have seen significant delays due to staffing and supply chain upheavals caused by the pandemic, the companies say.

With regards to South Flank, more than 900 employees and contractors have temporarily relocated to WA to comply with that State’s tight border controls.

“Despite all staff working from home, and planned workshops moving online, it has been business as usual for the ICN WA office,” Ray said.