Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is facing significant backlash after reversing a major Covid decision as cases rise across the country.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrotte stepped in to offer free rapid antigen tests for vulnerable concession card holders cut off by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
In a quandary for the Albanese government, the Liberal New South Wales government even adopted Mr. Albanese’s slogan of “leaving no one behind” to sell a new policy to extend the scheme until October.
The Albanian government has approved a federal scheme offering concession card holders access to free RATs will be cut at the end of the month.
Mr. Albanese called unscheduled meeting of the national cabinet on Friday, amid calls from states to extend free tests and $750 a week pandemic-related payments for random people forced to self-isolate without sick leave.
Mr Perrotte said on Friday that the NSW government will step in to ensure vulnerable communities get the support they need through the winter.
“We are making sure those people who need it most get the help they need to protect themselves and society during the winter by intervening and providing free rapid antigen tests,” said Mr. Perrotta.
NSW Minister for Senior Citizens Mark Kuhr said the expanded program will allow eligible New South Wales Commonwealth concession card holders to access 10 RATs for three months until October 31, 2022.
“The NSW government is already distributing free rapid antigen tests to vulnerable populations and we have the opportunity to extend this to those who still need them through the federal government’s program,” said Mr Kuhr.
“There is no need to rush or panic about whether you can access the tests – we have enough tests to support you.”
The tests will be distributed through 210 district and community centers across the state to eligible recipients, and more information can be found by visiting the website. www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/rapid-tests.
The Albanian government is facing calls from unions, state premiers and New South Wales Labor leader Chris Minns, as well as bench member and pediatrician Mike Freelander to increase support for Covid-19.
This was stated by Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Lei in an interview with Channel 7. Sunrise program in which Mr. Albanese had to reconsider waiving free RATs and a $750 pandemic payment in light of the winter spike in cases.
Anthony Albanese said he would take responsibility and leave no one behind. He failed both tests this morning,” she said. Sunrise.
Labor Party spokesman Jason Clare confirmed that the decision was made because of the budget and not health advice.
“Well, there are a trillion reasons why we should. We inherit a trillion dollars of debt,” he said. Sunrise.
“It’s a tough decision, but we can’t keep spending forever. We convene the national cabinet on Monday.
“We’ll talk to the state prime ministers about it on Monday.”
Health Minister Mark Butler acknowledged that the decision to cut the $750 pandemic payment for temporary workers for isolation when they do not have sick leave was not based on health advice.
Nursing care minister Anika Wells said on Thursday that current medical advice indicates that funding should go towards vaccinations and antiviral treatments.
“It’s best to invest where the money is best intended,” Ms. Wells said. “CMO says the best use of money is for vaccinations and antiviral treatment in aged care.”
But just hours later, when Health Secretary Mark Butler was bluntly asked if he had received any advice from the chief medical officer about the pandemic payout, he replied, “No.”
“This decision was made by the previous government,” Butler said.
Mr. Butler said that “at some point we need to accept that it’s not financially feasible to continue emergency payments forever.”
Mr Minns urged the prime minister to reconsider the payout and support casuals who might be tempted to lie about their viral status rather than lock themselves up for seven days.
“The $750 lockdown fee should be reinstated,” the leader of the state opposition said. “For our health and economy.
“We need to make sure that people can meet their financial obligations if someone is going to stay at home for seven days without any financial means or any income to fulfill these obligations.”
Originally published as NSW Liberal Party Reactivates After Anthony Albanese Shamed For Removing Free RATs