Price hikes on rapid tests now illegal

Maeve Bannister |

Overpriced rapid antigen test kits should be a thing of the past as new laws kick in. 

As of 1am on Saturday January 8, rapid test kits are listed on Australia’s biosecurity determination, making price gouging on the essential item illegal. 

Retailers caught marking up test kits by more than 20 per cent of the supply price now face a penalty of $66,000 and up to five years in jail.

At the beginning of the pandemic personal protective equipment such as masks and hospital gowns as well as hand sanitiser were added to the biosecurity list to prevent prices being hiked. 

The determination also controls the export of items on the list to prevent overseas buyers taking Australian stocks. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt told 2GB on Thursday the federal government was taking “the strongest possible actions” to prevent profiteering in a time of need.

Meanwhile states are moving to record positive rapid antigen test results as part of daily case numbers, alongside PCR test results.

Victoria and Tasmania have introduced a system where people who test positive to a rapid test can inform state health authorities.

Queensland is establishing a hotline to record positive rapid tests and NSW is working to have a similar reporting system through the Service NSW app.

The reporting requirements come amid concerns the number of people with COVID-19 is far higher than the official figures reported. 

On Friday night Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tweeted that he had tested positive for COVID-19, had the “common symptoms” and was isolating with his family.

“My thoughts are with all those who have COVID – this is a difficult time but we will get through this,” he said.

Friday was another record day of case numbers with more than 78,000 reported in Australia. 

There were 38,625 new cases and 11 deaths in NSW, while there were 21,728 infections and six fatalities in Victoria.

Queensland had 10,953 new cases, while South Australia and Tasmania registered 3707 and 1489 cases respectively.

The ACT had 1246 cases, the first time the territory had daily case numbers above 1000, with the Northern Territory having 412 and Western Australia recording six among travellers.