Defence has concluded its support to Med-Con Pty Ltd, a surgical face mask manufacturer near Shepparton in regional Victoria, having significantly increased production at the facility.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldier Sergeant Steven Davidson assists Bob Neighbour to repair a medical mask manufacturing machine at Med-Con Pty Ltd. Photo by Corporal Sagi Biderman.
Australian Defence Force support commenced at the factory on 7 March 2020 as part of the government’s national response to COVID-19.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said 2.6 million surgical masks were produced during the ADF’s support.
“Prior to the ADF providing support, the company, which was Australia’s only producer of the masks, was making around two million per year,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Now, thanks to the ADF, Med-Con has significantly increased its production, and is currently capable of making up to 50 million masks per year with plans to increase this to 200 million per year.”
Highly qualified personnel from the ADF and Department of Defence provided support to existing Med-Con Pty Ltd staff on production, machine operations training, maintenance, repair and warehousing.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the ADF support was a great example of Defence and civilian personnel working together in a common national cause to lift industrial output.
“It shows the sort of flexibility and creative thinking we need to employ in this fight,” Mr Chester said.
“The incredible value-add also showcases the skills and expertise our veterans can bring to the civilian workforce once they transition from the defence force.”
Med-Con Pty Ltd Director Ray Stockwell praised the ADF’s support, singling out the refurbishment of a broken machine as critical to the successful increase in production.
“Our estimate to bring the broken machine back to life was around 12 weeks,” Mr Stockwell said.
“The ADF personnel did it in less than two, and at the same time completed a series of engineering drawings to aid with the manufacture of future machines.”