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Free rapid tests for pollies, truckies to pay for their own

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NSW MPs in state parliament will be given 20 free rapid antigen tests each, while essential transport workers are left to fend for themselves.

That’s according to email correspondence from the Department of Parliamentary Services.

The Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has condemned NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for failing to provide free rapid antigen tests to essential transport workers too, and is calling on MPs to donate their free tests to this essential workforce.

NSW MPs were advised today that “20 Rapid Antigen Test kits (RAT) [will] be sent to each electorate office this week for use by members and staff” and that “one kit per member/staff per week” will be available for everyone working in NSW Parliament House.

TWU NSW State Secretary Richard Olsen labelled the move as “breathtaking hypocrisy”.

“The NSW Government is happy for essential workers and members of the public to run around countless pharmacies and supermarkets trying to find a rapid test, and to make them pay for it if they do manage to find one – but at the same time they are handing out 2000 free tests to Members of Parliament,” Olsen said.

“It isn’t Members of Parliament that will keep food on the shelves in our supermarkets, it’s essential workers in the transport industry – and the Premier is all too happy to let them fend for themselves.

“There are several by-elections for the NSW Parliament due next month – at this rate the easiest way for an essential transport worker to get their hands on a rapid test would be to run for election.

“The TWU is calling on every NSW politician to do the right thing by their communities, and donate their free rapid tests to essential transport workers in their electorate.”

Olsen also added the NSW Government needs to make rapid antigen tests available for free for all transport workers as soon as possible. “If it’s good enough for politicians, then it’s good enough for the essential workers we all rely on,” he said.

The TWU added that in addition to free rapid antigen tests for NSW politicians, rapid antigen testing was also in place at NSW Parliament House for several months at the end of 2021 – long before they were on the shelves in supermarkets and pharmacies.

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