Health Minister caught out over ACT Health charging for COVID-19 tests


The Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA, was caught out in question time in the ACT Legislative Assembly today when she did not even know her own Directorate was charging for COVID-19 tests at EPIC.

After telling the Assembly in question time she had heard rumours the Government was charging for COVID-19 tests, but she did not think that they were true, the Minister was forced to return to the Assembly to correct the record.

The ACT Government is providing tests required for travellers for $110. The same test in private pathology cost around $150, with expedited test costing a lot more.

The Shadow Minister for Business, Ms Leanne Castley MLA, asked the Minister why the Government was charging people for the tests, which are usually provided for free. In response, the Minister tried to deflect the question as an unsubstantiated rumour, and when she was forced into an embarrassing correction, she attacked Leanne Castley for having the temerity to ask the question.

Shadow Health Minister, Mrs Giulia Jones MLA, said “The Minister was caught out plain and simple.”

“Families wanting to travel at Christmas may have to get four or five of these tests just to get on a plane. This is potentially another huge financial burden on Canberra families at this time of the year., after a very difficult lockdown period

“The Opposition was keen to explore why the Government could not provide the testing cheaper for families.

Many Canberra Liberals have received emails from Canberrans planning to travel interstate and who require a negative COVID‑19 result who have been shocked when they are told the test will cost them $110.