A Team Of Ratbag Legends Are Sourcing Bulk RATs To Give ’Em To Concession Card-Holding Aussies

free rapid tests australia ratbag

A new community-led group has stepped into the gap left by the Federal Government by sourcing and providing free rapid antigen tests (RATs) to concession and low-income cardholders in Australia.

The group — aptly named “ratbag” — has kicked off after the government ended its free RAT program for those who are least likely to be able to afford to buy their own. Western Australia, NSW and Tasmania’s State Governments have bridged the gap, but many Aussies now have to purchase rapid tests out of their own pocket.

Ratbag organiser Paul McMillan said in a release that the group had heard reports that welfare recipients were already struggling to find RATs before July 31, adding to the current stress of skyrocketing cost of living prices.

“Without a RAT many welfare recipients will be forced to choose between leaving home while contagious or losing their poverty payment. Others will choose between food and testing,” Paul said.

“Not only is it a terrible blow to have this scheme end when there is clearly such great need, but to add insult to injury concession card holders who turned up to pharmacies yesterday were turned away.

“That people were prevented from accessing the government’s scheme a day before it was supposed to end is extremely unhelpful.”

Anyone who is on a concession card can access free RATs through the ratbag website. The ratbags will try to prioritise anyone who doesn’t live in a state that already provides the tests for free, but anyone else in need can still apply for help.

All that’s needed is a proof of concession card and additional supporting documents (like ID and a Medicare card) and the team will send out a bundle of five tests. The group will also send out masks with RATs on request.

Those unable to access welfare payments and cannot afford to buy tests can also submit a request to the ratbag team.

The ratbag team is currently using donations to buy rapid tests in bulk from pharmacies and is looking to find ways to buy them at discounted or wholesale prices.