New vaccine plant receives $1b injection

Matt Coughlan and Callum Godde
·2-min read

A new flu vaccine manufacturing plant will be built in Melbourne to guard against future pandemics and provide antivenoms for some of Australia's most deadly creatures.

The federal government has struck a $1 billion, 12-year deal with CSL subsidiary Seqirus for long-term access to influenza and fever vaccines.

The company will invest $800 million to develop a hi-tech vaccine manufacturing facility near Melbourne airport to replace its more than 60-year-old Parkville site.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the agreement built on CSL's efforts to manufacture coronavirus vaccine candidates, which started last week.

"It is about the production of Aussie doses of the COVID-19 vaccine," he told reporters on Monday.

Mr Morrison said vaccine manufacturing capabilities would be crucial in the event of another pandemic.

"This has been a common discussion amongst like-minded countries around the world... the need for us to do even more to secure supply changes in critical areas," he said.

"There could be few more critical than those that apply to vaccines."

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the anti-venoms could be used for taipans, tiger snakes, brown snakes, box jellyfish and stonefish.

"It is like a roll call of Australiana," he said.

Work on the plant will start next year with the site expected to be operating by mid-2026 and more than 500 jobs expected to be created.

The existing deal with Seqirus was due to expire in 2024/25, potentially putting Australia at risk of needing to source critical medical products from overseas.

The new agreement runs until 2036.

Seqirus is the only company that makes influenza and Q fever vaccines in Australia, while no other firm in the world produces life-saving antivenoms against 11 poisonous Australian snakes, marine creatures and spiders.