Dominic Perrottet blasts ‘disgraceful’ theft of $500,000 worth of rapid antigen tests

Catie McLeodNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

About 42,000 rapid antigen tests worth more than $500,000 have been stolen from a warehouse in Sydney as the nationwide shortage of the kits continues.

Police were called after man entered the freight depot in Mascot about 3.20pm on Tuesday and “took possession” of the tests.

“The incident was reported to police and inquiries are continuing,” a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

Officers attached to South Sydney Police Area Command have commenced an investigation.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Wednesday condemned the thief’s actions and said the culprit would be found.

“At a time when everyone across our state has made incredible efforts in keeping people safe, in making sacrifices, what a disgraceful act,” he said. 

“And the police will catch you.”

PREMIER PRESSER
Camera IconNSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the theft was a ‘disgraceful act’. NCA NewsWire / Adam Yip Credit: News Corp Australia

The commonwealth and state governments have pushed for a transition from “gold standard” PCR testing, which requires time and labour-intensive laboratory work, to at-home rapid tests.

“I believe that 2022 looks like families across the state having rapid antigen tests in the medicine cupboard. I think that’s going to be a part of life as we move through,” Mr Perrottet said on Wednesday.

But the kits remain in high demand and very short supply, with essential workers unable to access them and widespread price gouging rendering them unaffordable for many people.

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Camera IconRATs are proving hard to come by at retailers across Sydney. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

The consumer watchdog says it has received reports of rapid tests costing up to $500 for two tests through online marketplaces, and more than $70 per test through retailers such as service stations.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said these prices were “clearly outrageous”, with wholesale costs ranging between $3.95 and $11.45 a test.

A delivery of 1.2 million rapid antigen tests arrived in NSW Monday night and a further 15 million kits are expected within the next week.

Mr Perrottet has said the tests procured by his government will be prioritised for schools, essential state-run services and vulnerable communities.

At their national cabinet meeting on Thursday, state and territory leaders are expected to discuss the potential for rapid tests to be manufactured locally.

Originally published as Dominic Perrottet blasts ‘disgraceful’ theft of $500,000 worth of rapid antigen tests

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