Call for NSW to keep test sites open


NatRoad says truck-friendly sites on Pacific and Newell Highways need to remain operational until RAT supply fixed

Call for NSW to keep test sites open
Some regional NSW COVID test sites are set to close

 

The New South Wales government has been urged to rethink urgently the upcoming closure of six regional truck-friendly polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing stations seen as critical to heavy vehicle operations.

National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) chairman Scott Davidson said the government intends closing most PCR testing stations as Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) comes into greater use.

But low availability and the high cost of RAT kits were a real issue for the heavy vehicle sector.

The testing stations are at Ballina, Marulan, Narrandera, Tarcutta, Taree and Yass and service the critical freight routes of the Pacific and Hume Highways.

"We understand that will occur from January 17 but the closure of the six truck-friendly sites in regional areas could happen as soon as this week," Davidson said.

"We accept that the downscaling of PCR stations is inevitable with changes to border crossing and close contact rules, but there’s still uncertainty while bureaucrats scramble to amend regulations.

"The truck-friendly testing sites were a godsend to our industry and NSW led the way with their introduction.

"We just want them to stay in place until RATs are more fairly priced and become more readily available." 

Davidson said there is a strong case to make RATs available free of charge to essential industries like road transport.

 

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