The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
22 February 2022
Albanese caught out misleading on Rapid Antigen Tests
The Leader of the Opposition has again been caught out not telling the truth to the Australian people.
Yet again, Mr Albanese was caught intentionally misleading Australians by claiming the Australian Government had not ordered any rapid antigen tests until January 2022.
The Morrison Government has been an early adopter of RATs with the first RAT used at Howard Springs on 19 November 2020. Since August 2021, we have been purchasing and distributing RATs to residential aged care facilities (RACF) across the country through the national medical stockpile well in advance of market demand.
Anthony Albanese and Labor continue to play political games when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health of Australians.
This claim is false, and Mr Albanese knows it.
Minister Hunt has been a long-time supporter of rapid antigen testing and at his request the Department and TGA prepared early for the possible additional use of both point of care and self-care rapid antigen tests as a supplement to PCR testing in anticipation of it being supported by the AHPPC.
This was done in anticipation of AHPPC changing their position on the wide use of self-tests and some states (QLD, WA, TAS and SA) lifting their public health orders banning their use as self-tests, following the adoption of RAT in other countries.
We have distributed 29.8 million RATs to residential aged care facilities, supported independent living residential disability facilities, states and territories, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and General Practice Respiratory Clinics.
We have also ensured six million concession card holders can access up to 10 free RATs through the concessional RAT program, which to date has provided 11.7 million RATs to 2.5 million Australians.
In addition, our Government continues to ensure Australians can access free RATs through testing clinics across the country and through schools for kids, at a 50:50 cost split with the states and territories.
We also secured more than 270 million COVID-19 vaccines and we invested millions into local research and production of vaccines, including in Victoria, which has meant Australia has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
Our Government has protected Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to do so. This has enabled us to continue to ease restrictions as we have seen again today with the announcement from Victoria.
As usual, Mr Albanese and Labor have no policies and no plans for the future of Australia’s health system.