House debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Manufacturing Industry

2:44 pm

Photo of Katie AllenKatie Allen (Higgins, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister inform the House about how the Morrison government is backing our manufacturers to boost our sovereign capability and create jobs, including through the manufacture of medical products such as the COVID-19 vaccines?

2:45 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question. Our government is always looking to work with industry and our researchers to make sure that we are in the best possible position to futureproof our nation. Today, as we start the vaccine rollout, it is really important that we acknowledge the work that has been done by researchers and industry right across Australia to support the COVID-19 response—because, quite frankly, it has been an absolutely outstanding result from so many Australians, whether it's our researchers, through CSIRO, through the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, or at the University of Queensland, or whether it's industry that's stepped up to make sure that we are producing the surgical masks we need, such as Med-Con and ResMed, who did a lot of work with our ventilators, along with Grey Innovation. And of course there is CSL, which is on track to produce 50 million doses of the vaccine, which is more than sufficient for our population.

That work has been a concerted effort by so many Australian researchers and by so many of our leading businesses right across Australia. CSL is a great success story, but there are many other businesses here in Australia that are manufacturing medical products that are also great success stories. Many of us here would be very familiar with the Cochlear story and the work they have been doing with their hearing technology solutions. I've already mentioned ResMed and what they did with ventilators. But there are so many fledgling companies that are producing medical products right across Australia. We as Australians should be so proud of them and the work they are doing. They are great examples.

One business, a Melbourne based business, is Navi Medical Technologies. Last year this government backed them with a grant of $400,000 to help them commercialise their new catheter technology for seriously ill babies. Even during COVID, faced with enormous challenges, they expanded their business. They employed an extra six people. They set up an Aussie-owned office in the United States, and they significantly progressed their clinical research.

This is the work that Australians are so good at. That's why, when this government established our manufacturing road maps, we actually looked at making sure there was a place for medical product manufacturing, because we have the capability here in Australia. What we will focus on now is building our capacity.