With RAT tests across the country in short supply, people are racing from store to store.  Disrupted supply-chains are leaving shelves bare and those with the few RATs are being accused of taking advantage. 

Speaking to 2GB radio, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has once again responded to criticism that the government had inadequately prepared for the current wave. 

“We were buying [RAT tests] in August as a federal government to meet the requirements we had in aged care. That’s what’s being used right now,” Scott Morrison explained. 

“Back in August and even September we were dealing with Delta – and what we were focused on then was getting those vaccination rates up.”

“Omicron has changed absolutely everything. Most people now know someone, or indeed have had Covid. That wasn’t true six months ago.”

“Rapid antigen tests are in short supply around the world. This is not something that is unique to Australia. It’s part of dealing with Omicron. Omicron has disrupted everything.”

With the high demand for RAT tests, many businesses were being accused of price gouging. Having investigated the matter, the Australian consumer watchdog has revealed that Kits are being purchased wholesale between $4 and $12 but are being sold at $20-30 and some up to $70.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said “Any test costing more than $30, even with supply constraints, is almost certainly too expensive and would seem to be taking advantage of the current circumstances.” 

The supply chain has been even more disrupted by the considerable amount of staff in self-isolation. 

Though many rules have recently been changed to keep critical workers at work, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has said their concerns “seem to have been ignored.”

The recent changes have meant asymptomatic household contacts could return to work. Even so, there are too many employees with symptoms that have been unable to acquire a RAT test. 

ACTU President, Michele O’Neil told ABC breakfast that “the issues that need to be resolved to keep workers safe at work include free and accessibility of RATs. Free access is really important, and there are other matters that need to be considered as well.”

O’Neil explained that she had contacted the Prime Minister but that “those calls had fallen on deaf ears.”

“We’ve offered to work together to try and make sure that workers are safe and that we don’t have this virus spread further in workplaces. And, of course to people’s families and the whole community.”

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