Free rapid antigen tests for vulnerable Australians in Western Sydney
Commonwealth concession card holders in Western Sydney will be able to access up to 10 free rapid antigen tests through pharmacies.
Under a range of new initiatives agreed to by National Cabinet on Wednesday, 5 January 2021, rapid antigen tests will be made available over three months (a maximum of 5 in a month) to people holding the following cards:
- • Pension Concession Card
- • Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
- • Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
- • Health Care Card
- • Low Income Health Card
The free tests will become available in the next two weeks, while COVID-19 tests remain free and available at state testing clinics for people who have symptoms or are a close contact.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said there were 6.6 million Commonwealth concession card holders.
“The Omicron variant has been a game-changer and our health experts are constantly learning more,” Senator Payne said.
“Accordingly, our public health response is adapting to changing circumstances, which means that the Morrison Government will continue to take action, like providing 10 million rapid antigen tests to states and territories to assist them with testing and laboratory capacity.
“We’re on the pathway out of this virus, our economic recovery is on track, and our Western Sydney community can look ahead with hope.”
Senator Payne also confirmed that the Morrison Government will prohibit price gouging of rapid antigen tests, with penalties for not complying ranging up to five years imprisonment or $66,000.
“This common sense decision is similar to actions taken earlier in the pandemic relating to essential goods such as masks, other PPE and hand sanitiser,” Senator Payne said.
National Cabinet, with the exception of Western Australia, also agreed that the confirmation PCR test will not be required after a positive rapid antigen test. The NSW Government will provide further information on how a positive rapid antigen test will be recorded.