The Transport Workers’ Union has condemned NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for failing to provide essential transport workers with free rapid antigen tests, despite providing MPs in State Parliament with 20 free tests each, and is calling on MPs to donate their free tests to essential transport workers.
According to email correspondence from the Department of Parliamentary Services, every NSW politician is set to be provided with 20 free rapid antigen tests – yet transport workers and members of the public will be left to battle it out in pharmacies and supermarkets.
NSW MPs have been advised 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 said the breathtaking hypocrisy showed the NSW Government’s contempt for critical workers, and called on NSW MPs to donate their free tests to essential transport workers in their electorates.
“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 2,000 free tests to Members of Parliament,” Mr 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.”
“The NSW Government must also 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.”
In addition to this batch of 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.
The TWU has been calling for free rapid antigen testing for transport workers since September last year, when the union wrote to the Prime Minister urging for the matter to be discussed at National Cabinet.