Cost of RAT tests too much for average families says Tesch

With the NSW Government’s announcement last week that people who test positive using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) are required to register their result with Service NSW or face a $1000 fine, uncertainty remains due to the scarcity of the at-home tests.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new registration process was an important part of managing the pandemic.

“NSW residents can register their result with just a few clicks on the Service NSW website or by using the Service NSW app,” Perrottet said.

“Registering your RAT result enables NSW Health to provide you with advice on self-isolation and managing COVID-19 symptoms at home, to connect high risk people to clinical care services and to help inform the ongoing public health response.”

One local resident said it had been impossible to find a RAT on the Central Coast over the last week, after leaving work early with a sore throat, fatigue and back ache.

“The day after developing symptoms I got up early and lined up at the chemist at opening and there was none there,” they said.

“I then went to the next chemist, then the next, then Woolworths and there was nothing.

“I’ve done this over several days and yet there are no tests available anywhere.

“I’m pretty certain I’ve had COVID-19 as I had all of the symptoms but couldn’t find a test.

“I have just had to isolate for the required seven days.

“It’s incredibly frustrating.”

Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch said she was disappointed and furious over the lack of access to RATs across the Coast.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that we are living in the 21st Century yet we cannot get a PCR or RAT test,” Tesch said.

“Other countries have managed to handle their outbreaks well, facilitating the delivery of free tests to households and ensuring people could test from home.

“There’s no excuse for NSW’s and Australia’s current situation – we should have been equipped to deal with this.”

In early January, National Cabinet agreed to extend the availability of free RATs, with concession card holders including those on a Commonwealth seniors healthcare card and low-income card, now able to access the free tests.

However, under the new scheme, concession card holders will only be able to access up to 10 free RATs over three months at a maximum of five in a single month.

“The fact that only the more affluent members of our society can afford RATs is a problem that I simply will not stand for,” Tesch said.

“While it is positive that some vulnerable community members will be able to gain access to free RATs the reality is that for your average Aussie on an average wage or salary, where you do not qualify for Centrelink or any of the other exemptions, a $25 test is still too much.

“If you have a family of four that’s $100 just to do a test, a cost this Liberal Government should be ashamed of.”

Maisy Rae