A petition signed by more than 150,000 Australians demanding the Morrison Government act immediately to make Rapid Antigen Tests free and accessible for everyone will be delivered to federal parliament by ACTU President Michele O’Neil today.

The petition will be tabled in parliament by the ALP.

RATs are one of the best tools we have to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the strain on our overwhelmed healthcare system and are provided free to anyone who needs them by government around the world including in the US and UK.

The cost burden on low paid workers in frontline industries who have to test themselves and their families regularly and at their own expense is unacceptable.

In workplace settings, the law makes it clear that employees should never shoulder the cost of ensuring that their workplace is safe – including the provision of tests and any appropriate PPE. Outside of workplaces, it is a foundational principle of the Australian healthcare system that essential healthcare should always be free and accessible to anyone who needs it.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“This petition shows Australians are fed up with the Morrison Government forcing them to fund their own response to a pandemic. Again and again this Government has shifted costs onto individuals, leaving working people to fend for themselves.

“RATs are a critical part of healthcare for our entire population and should be free and accessible for anyone who needs them.

“Once again Australia is lagging behind other developed countries in our response to the pandemic. The Morrison Government is squandering the sacrifices that Australians have made with decisions driven by short-term cost saving.

“The costs being incurred by low paid workers who are required to buy their own tests are appalling. The Morrison Government’s repeated reminders that some of those tests might be tax deductible are a callous show of disrespect for workers who are carrying us through this crisis.

 “The Morrison Government can and must make RATs free and accessible for all Australians.”