Rapid antigen test distribution to high-risk residential disability care settings

  • Media release from the Minister

The Australian Government has commenced distributing 1.2 million rapid antigen tests to high risk residential disability care settings, with five million test kits to be delivered by June this year. 

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC, said the Government was providing free rapid tests to NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL) residents and workers in line with the National Cabinet’s agreement to the new Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPCC) guidance.

“Initial deliveries are being distributed to SIL providers with three or more participants while work is underway to identify the best distribution points for smaller providers,” Minister Reynolds said. 

SIL providers will receive an allocation of tests to manage outbreaks and outbreak prevention. Providers will distribute tests to participants and their workers as required.

“The provision of rapid antigen tests in higher-risk residential disability settings provides an additional control to ensure the safety of participants and workers, and support providers to help manage any COVID-19 outbreaks.”

The direct supply of test kits to high risk residential disability care settings is in addition to previously announced measures including:

  • Free rapid antigen tests as part of the concession card holders scheme which has already seen more than 3.5 million tests provided to 858,000 concession card holders which includes the majority of NDIS participants; and
  • Providing eligible NDIS participants with access to rapid antigen tests via their NDIS plan.

This latest measure supersedes the existing measure which enabled SIL participants and providers to claim up to $12.50 per rapid antigen test when a support worker is required to undergo testing to safely deliver supports.

“I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the disability care sector for their collaboration and their tireless efforts to ensure continuity of care and support through very challenging circumstances,” Minister Reynolds said.