Queensland’s supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are set to be boosted by tens of millions of pieces, with a newly expanded bulk storage site at Inala able to house more of the vital material.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the major expansion was about future proofing the state’s PPE supplies against COVID-19.
“The pandemic put pressure on stocks worldwide, but Queensland has managed exceptionally well,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Now we will go further, to ensure Queensland always has enough PPE supplies, so our health workforce is protected no matter what happens next,” she said.
“Having this expanded site at Inala ensures we will have space and continue to have enough critical supplies of PPE for our healthcare workers who play an essential role in keeping Queensland communities safe.
The Premier said the storage facility would feed into Queensland’s distribution centres, where collectively the state has in excess of 100 days of supply of key PPE items – including more than 900 days of surgical masks, more than 200 days of medical gowns, and close to 300 days of gloves.
“We initially set up the storage site early in the pandemic at Inala as an overflow facility in response to the growing demand for PPE, and it’s now being expanded by 50 per cent,” she said.
“The original site is currently holding approximately 120 million pieces of PPE across 9,500 pallet spaces, including those all-important items such as surgical masks, gloves and protective eyewear.
“From early September the facility will span 15,500m2 – adding an extra 4,500 pallet spaces – and based on current stock, we expect to be able to increase storage to around 180 million pieces of PPE.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said the newly enlarged storage site would add to already existing distribution centres and regional warehouses across the State.
“Queenslanders have done exceptionally well during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we have to remain vigilant and prepared, given that the virus has the potential to rapidly re-emerge,” he said.
“The storage site at Inala is part of our strategy to boost Queensland’s PPE storage capacity and further reinforces Queensland’s strong position.
“This is about ensuring we have more secure supplies as a state and that all our frontline workers have access to the necessary supplies and equipment to keep them safe, support their work for the community and enable them to continue to deliver the outstanding services that they provide.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the global critical stock shortages of PPE, the vulnerabilities of supply chains and the importance of having access to sufficient stock.
“Thankfully, Queensland has not experienced the critical stock shortages realised by other healthcare providers across the world.
“This is due to our strong response to keep case numbers low, supply chain planning and ability to store significant volumes of PPE in distribution centres and regional warehouses across the State,” Mr Miles said.