ACOSS welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that people living below the poverty line, and who are on a range of concession cards, will be able to access free Rapid Antigen Tests through pharmacies, as well as at public testing clinics. However we have concerns for those who may fall through the cracks, including people seeking asylum and international students.
We also call on Federal and State/Territory governments to include frontline community services in the distribution strategy for free RAT kits, as they are an easier point of contact than chemists for people who need the support of services.
ACOSS President Peter McNamara said:
“It is reassuring to hear that there will be up to two hundred million Rapid Antigen Test kits arriving in Australia and we urge the Commonwealth and State/Territory governments to distribute free RATs to community service providers, who deliver frontline essential services to people in need.
“We anticipate it will still be challenging for people with disability, women fleeing domestic violence, First Nations people, especially in remote communities and people with English as a second language to find out about and access RATs at chemists. Services who already reach out to these at-risk groups are well placed to provide them with timely COVID tests.
“We have heard from our member organisations like the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre that they have already spent tens of thousands of dollars to provide Rapid Antigen Tests to their staff and clients, this situation can’t continue.”