Lack of RATs threatens annual harvest and year-round supplyNews
With several states announcing improving supplies of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs), APAL is calling on governments to ensure the tests are prioritised for the ag sector alongside other critical industries.
In the past week Victoria confirmed it has received the first 3 million of 44 million RATs and NSW anticipates it will have an additional 15 million tests in the next week.
“Our industry needs assurance that the federal and state governments’ plans to distribute the tests recognises the critical and urgent needs of our industry,” said APAL CEO Phil Turnbull.
“Our trees don’t have an off button – we can’t just shut down operations while we wait for access to more tests. Our crops have one annual harvest that is already underway in some regions.”
“Growers in all regions are reporting that their limited labour supply is being cut by as much as 40% because staff are unable to access tests. We are already experiencing a shadow lockdown as massive numbers of staff are forced to remain in isolation,” said Phil.
“We look forward to the federal and state governments confirming how they will prioritise and distribute the increased supply of tests to the ag sector to minimise disruption to the harvest and alongside the needs of other critical industries,” said Phil.