Politicians getting FREE rapid antigen tests while essential workers search for crucial Covid kits


Politicians are getting FREE rapid antigen tests from a private stockpile while essential workers are forced to spend days searching for the crucial Covid kits

  • Countless politicians & staff across NSW are being sent free rapid antigen tests
  • In stark contrast to essential workers, who are struggling to locate the test kits
  • Development outraged many, workers questioning MP preferential treatment 


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Scores of Australian politicians are receiving free rapid antigen tests – while countless essential workers are battling to locate the crucial swabs to ensure they can do their jobs.

The likes of healthcare workers, truck drivers and supermarket staff are up against it to secure the vital testing kits as Covid case numbers rapidly rise across the nation – unlike members and staff of NSW parliament, who have access to a private stockpile. 

Close to 2,000 RATs will soon be sent out to MPs electorate offices across the state, and members and staff who work out of Parliament House will have access to at least one RAT per week.

In an email to the parliamentary workforce on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services confirmed a limited supply of RAT kits have been put aside as a ‘safety measure’.

‘For Electorate Offices, a limited supply of tests (20 RAT kits) will be sent out to each of the 98 electorate offices for use by members and staff, starting from tomorrow morning,’ MPs were told, according to the Daily Telegraph. 

NSW based politicians are receiving free rapid antigen tests - while countless essential workers are battling to locate the crucial swabs to ensure they can do their jobs (pictured, a rapid antigen test)

NSW based politicians are receiving free rapid antigen tests - while countless essential workers are battling to locate the crucial swabs to ensure they can do their jobs (pictured, a rapid antigen test)

NSW based politicians are receiving free rapid antigen tests – while countless essential workers are battling to locate the crucial swabs to ensure they can do their jobs (pictured, a rapid antigen test)

The development has enraged many essential workers across NSW, including supermarket staff (pictured)

The development has enraged many essential workers across NSW, including supermarket staff (pictured)

The development has enraged many essential workers across NSW, including supermarket staff (pictured)

In an email to the parliamentary workforce on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services confirmed a limited supply of RAT kits have been put aside as a 'safety measure' (pictured, retail workers in Sydney's CBD)

In an email to the parliamentary workforce on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services confirmed a limited supply of RAT kits have been put aside as a 'safety measure' (pictured, retail workers in Sydney's CBD)

In an email to the parliamentary workforce on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services confirmed a limited supply of RAT kits have been put aside as a ‘safety measure’ (pictured, retail workers in Sydney’s CBD)

Supermarket giants such as Woolworths and Coles have also been allocated RAT stockpiles for workers – but they are said to be dwindling.      

Transport Workers Union State Secretary Richard Olsen was horrified at the development favouring politicians, declaring essential workers must come first. 

‘It isn’t Members of Parliament that will keep food on the shelves in our supermarkets, it’s essential workers,’ he said.

‘The TWU is calling on every NSW politician to do the right thing by their communities, and donate their free rapid tests to essential transport workers in their electorate.

‘The NSW Government must also make rapid antigen tests available for free for all transport workers as soon as possible — if it’s good enough for politicians, then it’s good enough for the essential workers we all rely on.’

Labor leader Chris Minns confirmed he will happily donate his RATs to local charity Kogarah Storehouse, in Sydney’s south, while Greens’ David Shoebridge stated special rules should not be in place for MPs or political staff. 

On Sunday, the NSW government announced the first batch of 100 million Rapid Antigen Tests will be distributed to NSW essential public workers and vulnerable communities from this week to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Premier Dominic Perrottet confirmed the government will receive 50 million tests from mid-January to February, with a further 50 million tests being sourced for delivery from February and into March.

‘We are ensuring essential workers in our public workforce and vulnerable communities have access to free kits in this first round,’he said.

‘These tests, all approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, will help them to quickly ascertain if they need to self-isolate and ensure support and health advice is provided to those who need it.’

Many pharmacies across NSW and the nation are currently sold out of rapid antigen tests (pictured, a pharmacy at Balgowlah on Sydney's northern beaches)

Many pharmacies across NSW and the nation are currently sold out of rapid antigen tests (pictured, a pharmacy at Balgowlah on Sydney's northern beaches)

Many pharmacies across NSW and the nation are currently sold out of rapid antigen tests (pictured, a pharmacy at Balgowlah on Sydney’s northern beaches)

Earlier on Tuesday, the state recorded 25,870 Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths.

NSW Health confirmed six women and five men died; seven were aged in their 80s, three people were in their 90s, and one person was in their 70s.

Nine of the 11 people who died were fully vaccinated.

RATs are not yet included in NSW’s daily case counts – unlike in Victoria – because there is no official reporting system for them.

A self-reporting feature for RATs will be added to the Service NSW app this week, the state government has announced.

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