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VTA welcomes Vic RAT facility news

State govt to secure priority supply of several million tests from Lumos

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement about the establishment of a local Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) production facility in Victoria.

The move comes as the state government released 10,000 RAT kits from the government supply into the hands of the state’s ports and freight sector following huge challenges faced by freight and logistics operators nationwide due to the pandemic’s new strains.

The Victorian Government will support Lumos Diagnostics and its delivery partner Planet Innovation with their establishment of a manufacturing facility and innovation hub in Victoria.

Pending Therapeutic Goods Administration approval, Lumos will produce one million tests a month from April, three million a month after July, with full production from October onwards of up to 50 million RATs each year.

The state government will secure priority supply of several million tests from Lumos to meet demand in the coming months.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson commended the Victorian Government for investing in local rapid antigen test production, which will help improve certainty in the integrity of our supply chains as the economy re-opens and more people are exposed to Covid-19.

“The bigger issue for the freight industry, however, is access to rapid tests, which is continuing to be challenging for medium and small operators,” Anderson says.

“So, whilst we welcome RAT manufacturing in Victoria, we renew our calls for tests to be provided to the industry free-of-charge and from existing state and Commonwealth stockpiles, so that operators and drivers can meet their testing obligations and prevent our supply chains from collapse.”

Anderson says the larger freight and logistics operators generally had the capacity and financial wherewithal to source enough RATs for their drivers and operational staff.

“The real risk to our supply chains is the small and medium sized operators that are less capable of sourcing RATs.

These operators – while smaller – are a vital part of the supply chain because they service thousands of businesses that rely on them for deliveries to service customers and consumers.

“These are the types of operators that must be prioritised for RATs, so that drivers can test regularly and keep working.

“With asymptomatic close Covid contacts in critical industries like transport able to return work immediately, the provision of RATs is essential for these operators to continue trading.”

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