Shadow Minister for Education, Jo Hersey, says the Gunner Labor Government is turning its back on Territory kids after making the absurd decision to provide Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) to students in Government schools, but not independent schools or childcare centres.
“That means all non-government schools and childcare centres will have to source their own tests not only for their essential staff, but also for students.
“If they can’t or won’t, the burden will fall on parents to somehow purchase them (if they can find them), or they’ll be forced to bring their children to collect a new RAT from a Government testing site every time their child shows symptoms or becomes a close contact. If their child is a close contact in middle or senior school, that means they will need a new test every day for a week to continue to attend school.
“It’s cumbersome and unreasonable to place this additional burden on parents. For the Gunner Government to provide RAT kits for some Territory students, but not others, is unfair.
“We believe that all Territory children are equal, regardless of where their parents have chosen to send them to school. These children should not be disadvantaged for that decision.
“With the Territory experiencing a chronic shortage of RAT kits, it’s difficult for businesses to get their hands on enough for essential staff, let alone expecting parents or schools to have them on hand every time there is a close contact at school.
“The Chief Minister said one of the reasons we need to keep kids at school is so parents can keep working. To make testing even more difficult for some families is counterintuitive. If Government has the tests, they should be providing them for all Territory students, not just some.
“The Federal Government has offered to foot 50 percent of the bill for states and Territories who elect to test school children, the Gunner Labor Government should be taking advantage of that. Instead they’re leaving independent school and childcare students out.
“Labor should follow the lead of New South Wales and Victoria and provide RAT kits to all Territory school kids, not just some,” said Mrs Hersey.