Senate debates

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Testing

2:44 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Lambie for the question. I think it's an important one. There are, I think, over 20 different types of rapid antigen tests that are approved for use in Australia through the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and I know that a lot of businesses are already looking at their utilisation as part of the way that they manage COVID-19 and protect themselves and their workforce from it as we go forward.

As you might have heard earlier in question time today, I indicated that we have commenced a process of rolling out rapid antigen tests from the national stockpile to aged-care providers in metropolitan Sydney and regional areas of New South Wales, where COVID is a concern. It is a simple way to get some indication, in a short time frame, of whether or not there is a worker who might have an infection of COVID-19. Senator Lambie, you were right when you mentioned that they don't have the same efficacy as the PCR test, which is being utilised more broadly across the community, but I think they can and will play a role in the management of COVID-19. That's why we're rolling them out through residential aged care—you can get an indication of whether somebody might be carrying the virus before they go to work. That's why business and industry are utilising them already. Even someone who's vaccinated can be carrying and transmitting the virus, so these provide an additional layer of protection to us all as part of our management of COVID-19. As I said, there are over 20 different types of rapid antigen tests that are currently approved, with very good guidelines on the TGA website— (Time expired)


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