Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath has slammed Scott Morrison’s government for an “appalling” and “irresponsible” advertising campaign falsely spruiking free rapid antigen tests.
The Commonwealth health department video released early this week claims millions of free RATs are available at state testing clinics despite Queensland not yet receiving its supply.
D’Ath didn’t hold back in her message to the PM, as Queensland recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic so far yesterday with 16 deaths.
“To actually be running these (ads) knowing that there is not enough supply at our public testing clinics … is irresponsible,” she said.
“It is not Scott Morrison who is standing there at these testing clinics having to deal with the abuse of people who are unhappy because they can’t get a free test.
“To run these ads now, knowing this, is just … absolutely appalling and Scott Morrison should be apologising.”
The ad suggests the government is “making it easier for all people to get them in the coming weeks” with more than 70 million RATs secured and available for free at testing facilities for close contacts, people with symptoms or those instructed to test.
“I think those ads are very self serving, highly political and it is about Morrison positioning himself to look good in the lead-up to an election,” D’Ath added.
“If you have a look at the ad there is a lot of chest beating. That is a bit rich that the Commonwealth is spending taxpayers’ dollars running ads about what the state public testing clinics are providing.
“We are the ones doing all the hard work here. If you are going to spend money, spend it on securing more tests for us.”
The Minister also criticised the federal government’s vaccine rollout, suggesting they were dropping the ball in aged care with hundreds of residents still waiting to receive boosters.
“That’s the Commonwealth’s responsibility. They are dropping the ball at the most critical time,” she said.
“We have heard from the Commonwealth time and time again (that) there is no issue with vaccine supply so why isn’t it getting to the pharmacies and GPs quick enough?”
“When it comes to aged care, again this is a Commonwealth responsibility … to get those vaccines into aged care and disability facilities – that is their job,” D’Ath said.