SHARE ON

Share on facebook
Share on twitter

National cabinet will meet today. Here’s what’s on the agenda

Leaders will also hear from Treasury officials on the economic reasons to keep schools open.

Read More

It’s expected the list of sectors classified as essential will also expand following the national cabinet meeting, in order to keep supply chains moving.

It comes after the country’s leading medical advisory group recommended earlier this week that food and grocery workers be able to return to work after being a close contact of a positive COVID case, provided they then return a negative rapid test.

A similar proposal could be laid out for other sectors classified as essential, which could include road, rail and air transport, mental health and education and energy supply.

It’s expected transport and logistics workers would be prioritised.

Read More

Meanwhile, ministers have flagged the possibility JobSeeker recipients could be deployed into workforces that are facing staff shortages.

A plan to also increase the hours are able to work to 40 hours a fortnight is also being considered as a way to alleviate pressure on sectors hardest hit by the virus.

National cabinet will also settle on a date for when concession card holders will able to access free rapid tests from pharmacies.

Arrangements with pharmacies for the scheme, which would see concession holders access 10 free tests over a three-month period, have been finalised.

The scheme was sketched out during the most recent national cabinet meeting following mass shortages of the rapid tests nationwide.

Read More

As shortages of rapid tests continue, the government has placed an urgent tender for more than $60 million of the tests.

Five separate tenders for the rapid tests were placed by the federal health department on Monday.

The tenders were sent out due to “extreme urgency or events unforeseen”, according to the tender listings.

It’s not clear if the tenders for new rapid tests would form part of the 200 million the prime minister said would arrive in the country in coming weeks, or if they were additional RATs.

Mr Morrison previously said procuring rapid tests was a state responsibility.

Labor senator said the move demonstrated a lack of preparedness for the amount of rapid tests needed.

“Despite knowing that rapid tests were a critical part of opening up, as far back as September, the Morrison government did nothing to secure supplies until there was a national COVID testing crisis,” Senator Gallagher told AAP.

“How could have left it until this week to order the rapid antigen tests needed beggars belief.”