Date published: 
23 December 2021
Type: 
Subscriber announcement
Intended audience: 
Health sector

Access to Rapid Antigen Testing kits for all residential aged care facilities

The Australian Government is providing access to rapid antigen test (RAT) kits to Commonwealth-subsidised residential aged care facilities, Multi-purpose services and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program services in areas of high prevalence of COVID-19.

Distribution of the RAT kits to NSW, QLD, ACT, VIC and SA is expected to commence in early 2022. Details on distribution arrangements and testing protocols will be provided shortly.

RAT kits will be distributed to TAS and NT in the event of widespread COVID-19 transmission. In the meanwhile, any outbreak sites in these jurisdictions will receive RATs as part of the Commonwealth’s response.

The current arrangements to provide RAT kits to all residential aged care facilities designated as outbreak sites will continue to be managed through your Commonwealth Case Manager.

In addition, as an emergency surge support, residential aged care facilities in the following Local Government Areas (LGAs) within New South Wales can request RAT kits through their Primary Health Network to support staff and visitor screening:

Primary Health Network (PHN)

Local Government Area (LGA)

Central and Eastern Sydney

Bayside, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River, Inner West, Randwick, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra

Hunter New England and Central Coast

Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Newcastle, Port Stephens

Nepean Blue Mountains

Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Penrith

North Coast

Byron, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed

Northern Sydney

Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Ryde, Willoughby

South Western Sydney

Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Wollondilly

Western Sydney

Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, The Hills Shire

Use of the test kits

The RAT kits being provided are to support:

  • testing of all residential aged care staff, including volunteers and subcontractors at each service and
  • testing regular visitors on arrival at the service. This includes family and friends of residents, visiting allied health and other service providers.

The RAT kits are an important tool in protecting residents and workers in each residential aged care facility from COVID-19.

For WA residential aged care services

The use of RAT kits is not currently authorised for residential aged care services under existing state public health measures in Western Australia. The Australian Government will provide access to the RAT kits pending authorisation being given for use of the testing kits.

Department of Health