Abigail questioned the Minister for Disability on their recently announced scheme to provide free RATs for people with disability, ensuring the program is available and accessible for all people with disability and their carers and families regardless of NDIS status.
Abigail asked the Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Services the following questions:
(1) In regards to the Government’s announcement in April 2022 that it will provide free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) for people with disability, how many RATs will be available per person per visit to a designated location?
(2) What is the criteria to determine eligibility?
(a) Is eligibility limited to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants?
(i) If so, does the Government plan to extend the program to include all individuals with disability who are not NDIS participants?
(b) Is there an age limit for those eligible?
(c) Does the program include immunocompromised individuals?
(3) Who will be conducting the review after the initial four months of the trial?
(a) Will the results of this review be made public?
(b) Does the Government plan to extend this trial after the four month duration?
(4) How many state wide neighbourhood centres funded by the Department of Communities and Justice will be available?
(a) Where will these centres be located?
(i) Please provide a list including those located in regional and rural areas?
(5) Does the Government intend to implement the Disability Liaison Officer model or similar to support people with disability to access health services during the pandemic, as is currently operating in Victoria and which has been recommended by several peak disability organisations?
(6) In regards to individuals who test positive on a free RAT provided by the Government, will they be provided accessible information and self-care kits to safely monitor COVID-19 at home?
The Minister for Families and Communities, and Minister for Disability Services answered:
I am advised:
(1) Recognising that each individual situation differs, the NSW Government has not placed a limit on the number of tests that are available to people with disability, their carers, and those who are immunocompromised per visit to a designated location. For practicality reasons, it is suggested that one month's supply of rapid antigen tests be provided per visit.
(2) The initiative is inclusive of all people with disability, their carers, and the immunocompromised. Individuals are asked to self-declare they have a disability, are a carer of a person with disability, or are immunocompromised in order to access free rapid antigen tests.
(a) The NSW Government recognises that people with disability are not necessarily participants in the NDIS, and as such this initiative is not limited to NDIS eligibility.
(b) There is no age limit to this initiative.
(c) This program includes access to free rapid antigen tests for immunocompromised individuals.
(3) The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) will conduct a review towards the end of winter, drawing on information and the latest health advice available to the NSW Government. The review will consult with key stakeholder groups including industry and peak bodies.
(4) Rapid antigen tests are available from any of the 216 DCJ funded neighbourhood and community centres located across the state.
(a) DCJ funded neighbourhood and community centres are spread across metropolitan, regional and rural areas of NSW.
(i) A list of the centres is publicly available at https://www.dcj.nsw.gov.au/covid- 19/free-rapid-antigen-tests-for-people-with-a-disability.html .
(5) The NSW Government has mechanisms in place to support people with disability to access public health services during the pandemic. NSW Health provides detailed and up to date COVID-19 information for people with disability, including through their website located at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/disability/covid-19/Pages/whatis.aspx.
Further questions on COVID-19 supports provided by NSW Health should be directed to the Minister for Health.
(6) Accessible information, including 'easy read' formats, is provided for people with disability by NSW Health, including through their website located at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/disability/covid-19/Pages/what-is.aspx . This includes information on testing, what to do if you feel sick and how to get help.
For the full transcript see Hansard here.