FINALLY: Victoria And NSW Are Making Rapid Antigen Tests Free

Can we get a “Thank Christ” in the chat folks? Victoria will be joining NSW in making COVID-detecting rapid antigen tests (RATs) free, apparently as early as next week. We love to see it. 

That would make Victoria the first to give them out for free, if they arrive on time of course. We’ve all been burned by AusPost too many times to trust an estimated delivery date. 

NSW isn’t expected to get its tests until February. 

Obviously, RATs should be free for everyone. But for some reason, the federal government just can’t be arsed to buy and distribute enough to go round. And so, the states are picking up the slack. 

Victoria has ordered more than 34 million, according to the ABC, and the Sydney Morning Herald reckons NSW will get 20 million. 

It’s not exactly clear yet how you’ll be able to get your mitts on a free DIY nose-invasion kit — but NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet did say the NSW Government would prioritise a few settings where not carrying the plague is kinda important. 

“These tests will be used for people going to high-risk settings — to go to hospitals, visiting elderly relatives, going clubbing,” he said. 

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said an announcement about how the tests would be used in his state was on its way. 

The federal government decided it would pay half the cost of tests ordered by the states, which kinda sounds like too little, too late to this journalist. 

Foley, like us, was less than impressed with how the feds were handling things. 

“We would much prefer to have a national approach to what is a national, indeed an international, supply issue but failing that, as per usual, the states have had to step up over the course of this pandemic and fill the gap that’s been left,” he said, per the ABC.

“If I had to commentate endlessly on the areas in which the Commonwealth hasn’t stood up and delivered national leadership on so many areas over the course of this pandemic I’d be sounding like a broken record.”

So true brother. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a bit of a whinge about these sentiments, and said that it was up to the states to get their own tests. But also mentioned that the federal government had already bought 4 million RATs and 6 million more were on the way. 

Coupla things: Is it your job or not, Scooter? And what good are those 4 million tests if I can’t grab one and stick it up my nose right now? 

Anyway, they’re still incredibly hard to get from a pharmacy and PCR testing queues are still out the wazoo, so stay safe out there.