Frome MP calls for Port Pirie to be included in RAT rollout

TESTING: Member for Frome Geoff Brock is concerned that people in Port Pirie will have to drive to Port Augusta for free RATs under the Government's rollout.
TESTING: Member for Frome Geoff Brock is concerned that people in Port Pirie will have to drive to Port Augusta for free RATs under the Government's rollout.

The rollout of free Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) has been announced for the state's regions, but Member for Frome Geoff Brock has voiced concerns about Port Pirie being left out.

According to Mr Brock, Port Augusta, Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and Naracoorte are set to receive testing kits this week with other regions soon to follow.

"But nothing for Port Pirie, which means our regional residents who have been identified as a close contact will not be able to easily do their own tests," he said.

"The State Government has listed the regional sites where testing kits will be available, but has neglected to include the Mid North and Yorke Peninsula."

Mr Brock said this will seriously disadvantage members of the community who are unable to travel for access to RATs.

"I am very surprised that the Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan has not been able to secure more distribution locations," he said.

"The issue of RATs supply is a critical one and, again, I believe the Government has planned poorly.

"We always knew that, when the borders opened, we would need the kits to take pressure off the testing stations, but still everything was left to the last minute.

"Now we have low supplies and limited distribution."

In response, Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan said that it was unhelpful to make comments which start a Port Pirie versus Port Augusta argument.

"It is short-sighted to say that the rapid test distribution centre should be in Port Pirie instead of Port Augusta given that, until we receive more rapid tests, Port Augusta is well located for all three Upper Spencer Gulf cities," he said.

"More rapid tests are on the way and, when they arrive soon, more distribution centres like Port Pirie and Whyalla can be set up.

"Port Pirie was one of the first regional locations to receive a PCR testing station which is still operating, so it is just wrong to suggest that everyone from Port Pirie has to go to Port Augusta."

The next phase of the rollout will include Playford, Salisbury and Mount Barker.