Two iconic Queensland manufacturers have responded magnificently to the COVID-19 crisis to ensure a supply of much-needed hand sanitiser for the state.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said Beenleigh Rum Distillery and Bundaberg Rum Distillery will focus on the production of ethanol for hand sanitiser immediately, using existing production lines and staff.
“My department has reached out to Queensland manufacturers, and the response, particularly from two of the most-loved brands in our state, shows just how much local companies are willing to do to help Queenslanders," Mr Dick said.
“Beenleigh Rum – Australia’s oldest distillery – will commence the production of hand sanitiser this week and have arrangements to supply the Queensland Government to ensure we have a ready supply for schools and frontline workers.
“Bundaberg Rum is also going full steam ahead with the production of ethanol, and will donate 100,000 litres – enough to produce around 500,000 bottles – to the Queensland Government.
"The Department of State Development is working to identify more manufacturers around the state who can quickly transition to the production of hand sanitiser.
“I can’t thank these mighty Queensland manufacturers enough," he said.
“We want to see more of this and are ready and eager to work with and support manufacturers who can help us get more products into our hospitals, our schools and our supermarkets and stores.”
“This is the time to think laterally and broadly about how you and your business can adapt and contribute to our state’s COVID-19 coronavirus response.
“You might think it’s a long shot but innovation is critical right now, and when it comes to manufacturing there’s no state more innovative than Queensland.”
Angelo Kotses, Managing Director of the Bickfords Group of Companies and owner of the Beenleigh Distillery, said the idea to transition to hand sanitiser came from the need to keep their own workers safe.
“Ethanol is the key ingredient of hand sanitiser, and we already produce ethanol for our alcohol products," Mr Kotses said.
“We originally planned a small run of only 1500 cartons, but when the Queensland Government approached us we were more than happy to help by providing hand sanitiser for essential needs throughout the state.”
David Smith, Managing Director of Bundaberg Rum’s parent company Diageo Australia, said the company had a duty to support the community in this unprecedented time of need through its donation of ethanol.
“Bundaberg Rum is a Queensland icon, we’ve felt the love of Australians since our distillery was first established more than 130 years ago in 1888," Mr Smith said.
"At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most."
Mr Dick said government will continue to reach out to manufacturers, suppliers and producers to identify any issues in the supply chain and help investigate ways to keep businesses open by retooling.
“We are talking to manufacturers from right across Queensland who are willing and able to transition their production into essential health care supplies and other necessities," he said.
“We’ve also set up a webpage for manufacturers who could move into untraditional production areas.
“Manufacturers can complete a short online form at qld.gov.au/qld-supplies and we’ll work to connect them with any new suppliers, producers and networks they may need.
“State Development officers from across Queensland are ready to help our businesses help more Queenslanders.”
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick