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Melbourne to get $1.8 billion vaccine factory

Melbourne is set to become the home of a new hi-tech vaccine manufacturing plant to help secure the nation against future pandemics and flu seasons.The $1.8 billion deal struck by the federal government will see the Tullamarine complex become the largest influenza manufacturing facility in the southern hemisphere.The factory will guarantee Australia faster production of…

Melbourne is set to become the home of a new hi-tech vaccine manufacturing plant to help secure the nation against future pandemics and flu seasons.

The $1.8 billion deal struck by the federal government will see the Tullamarine complex become the largest influenza manufacturing facility in the southern hemisphere.

The factory will guarantee Australia faster production of locally made influenza, virus and anti-venom treatments until 2036.

Seqirus, a subsidiary of Victorian-based global biopharmaceutical leader CSL, will invest more than $800 million to build the state-of-the-art facility at the Melbourne Airport Business Park, which is expected to be operational by 2026.

The federal government will also contribute $1 billion to secure the facility over the next 10 years and allow Australia to rapidly respond to flu outbreaks and pandemics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to visit CSL’s Broadmeadows facility in Melbourne’s north on Monday, which will be his first trip to Victoria since February and the state’s second coronavirus wave.

The project is expected to create more than 1000 local jobs and is worth an estimated $300 million to local supply chains.

“This agreement cements Australia’s long-term sovereign medical capabilities, giving us the ability to develop vaccines when we need them,” Mr Morrison said.

“Just as major defence equipment must be ordered well in advance, this is an investment in our national health security against future pandemics.”

The Victorian government said the factory would be the only cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in the southern hemisphere and will also produce other lifesaving products for the Australian market, such as the world’s only Q-Fever vaccine and anti-venom for local snakes, spiders and marine creatures.

It will also have the capacity to rapidly scale up vaccine production in response to any future influenza pandemic and guarantee the nation with a priority supply.

Seqirus general manager Stephen Marlow said CSL had been on the front line of the fight against influenza for more than 100 years.

“We are excited to work with Victoria’s world-class talent to deliver the next generation of influenza vaccine technology to Australia,” he said.

Federal Industry Minister Karen Andrews said the investment would not only allow Australia to continue to manufacture the essential vaccines into the future but will also boost high paying manufacturing jobs across a range of skills.

Victorian Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said the investment positions the state as a global leader in cell-based influenza vaccine production and further boosts capabilities in R & D, commercialisation and advanced manufacturing.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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