Qld govt finds rum solution to hand sanitiser shortage

When Queensland’s state department reached out to manufacturers to help with the COVID-19 emergency it got a typically Queensland response, with its two most famous rum distilleries putting up their hands for the production of hand sanitiser.

Bundaberg Rum, along with the Australia’s oldest distillery Beenleigh Rum, will use existing production lines and staff to produce ethanol for hand sanitisers.

Beenleigh started production last week and is locked in to supply the government with stocks for schools and frontline workers.

Bundaberg will donate 100,000 litres – enough to produce around 500,000 bottles of hand sanitiser – to the government.

“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,” manufacturing minister Cameron Dick said.

Cameron Dick

Mr Dick said the department is looking for more manufactures who are able to transition to the production of hand sanitiser and other essential health supplies and state development officers are on hand to assist any companies that wanted to sign up.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“We’ve also set up a webpage for manufacturers who could move into untraditional production areas.

Bickfords Group managing director and owner of the Beenleigh Distillery Angelo Kotses said the transition to hand sanitiser was a no brainer.

“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.

“At a time like this we will always step up and contribute when Australians need it most,” he said.

Manufacturers can apply here.

In the US, President Donald Trump on Friday invoked the Defence Production Act to order the Department of Health and Human Services to compel multinational car maker General Motors to manufacturer ventilators.

The law, which empowers the president to force businesses to produce products for national defence, was enacted in 1950 but has rarely been used.

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