Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Hon Mark McGowan BA LLB MLA

Premier; Treasurer; Minister for Public Sector Management; Federal-State Relations

Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson BA MLA

Hon Amber-Jade Sanderson BA MLA

Minister for Health; Mental Health

    Next phase of McGowan Government’s free RAT program unveiled

    15/03/2022 6:05 AM
    • 10.5 million more free Rapid Antigen Tests will bolster the WA Free RAT Program
    • Households registered under the WA Free RAT program will receive 10 more tests
    • 15 tests in total on offer to each WA household through the free program
    • Additional 500,000 free RATs to be handed out at public pop-up distribution points
    • Members of Parliament to receive 1,000 free RATs for distribution to those in need
    • Free RATs to be handed out at a range of venues such as train stations, major events, universities, TAFEs and shopping centres
    • WA's free RATs to help alleviate cost of living pressures due to worldwide petrol prices 

    Millions more Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) will be given to Western Australians for free as part the next phase of the McGowan Government's Australian-first WA Free RAT Program.


    The next phase of the WA Free RAT Program, which started late February, will see the program treble from the initial five tests on offer.


    From today, WA households can take up the offer of up to 15 free individual Rapid Antigen Tests in this latest tranche, with 10 extra tests to be automatically delivered to people who previously registered for the first five free tests for their household.


    Free RATs will also be on offer at numerous pop-up distributions at public sites including 500,000 free RATs to be handed out at selected train stations, major events, universities, TAFEs and shopping centres in metropolitan and regional locations.


    An additional 74,000 RATs will be distributed directly to households in remote and town-based communities through bespoke arrangements to get more RATs into the communities.


    Every State Member of Parliament will receive 1,000 RATs to be provided to constituents in need, through their electorate office.


    A new pickup site at the Kingsway Regional Sporting Complex will open at the car park near the netball courts, off Sporting Drive in Madeley, from today to Thursday March 17 at 7am to 6.45pm to replace the Perth Airport site for RATs previously ordered for collection.


    Since the inception of the McGowan Government's Free Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) Program, almost 650,000 WA households have registered to receive their five free RATs, with about 50 per cent of those registered expected to receive their order by the end of this week.


    Deliveries to metropolitan areas in Perth are ahead of schedule with many households receiving their orders ahead of deliveries slated to commence on March 14, as regional orders were being prioritised.


    Initially, the program offered 5.3 million free RATs to households across the State and distribution to remote communities has commenced with 48,000 free RATs being distributed to the Kimberley over the weekend, with this latest tranche trebling the program.


    The next phase of the WA Free RAT Program brings the current distribution cost to $38.1 million, including deliveries and public collection sites.


    More information is available at wa.gov.au or by phoning 13 COVID (13 26843).


    Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:


    "So far WA's preparedness for Omicron has meant we have been fortunate when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 in our community.


    "By providing free RATs to all Western Australians, we are able to ensure everyone is prepared for the wave of Omicron and best placed to stay safe and limit unnecessary spread of the virus.


    "Due to international events, there is no doubt petrol prices are impacting cost of living pressures in WA, and we want to make sure this doesn't prevent WA households from having access to RAT tests.


    "The 15 free RATs will go some way in helping households alleviate some of the financial burden they would otherwise face with the purchase of RATs.


    "The reporting of positive RATs is starting to outweigh the reporting of positive PCR tests and the provision of these free RATs will ensure people have them on-hand as they need them - for ease and convenience.


    "WA's approach to COVID-19 management and our preparation has put us in the best possible light to manage this Omicron wave and together, Western Australians have played an important role in getting us to this unique and safe position."


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:


    "Thanks to all those who continue to do the right thing and get tested for COVID-19.


    "We understand that the cost of Rapid Antigen Tests could place added pressure on household budgets and we want to ensure all Western Australians are well placed to meet the challenges ahead.


    "That's why we are distributing an additional 10 tests to every household registered under our free RAT program, on top of the five free initial tests already on offer.


    "If you are symptomatic or a close contact of a COVID case, please get tested, either by a PCR or RAT."


    Premier's office - 6552 5000

    Health Minister's office - 6552 5900