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‘Down the gurgler’: Two million COVID-19 tests to expire this month

Liam Bartlett
Article image for ‘Down the gurgler’: Two million COVID-19 tests to expire this month

Almost two million COVID-19 tests purchased from China last year will likely be thrown out.

The federal government paid Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo foundation $186 million for five million tests, but almost two million remain unused and are about to reach their expiry date.

Federal Labor MP, Pat Conroy, told 6PR’s Liam Bartlett it’s a waste of taxpayer funds.

“Why is this government letting $40 million go down the gurgler by letting these two million test kits just expire on the shelf,” he said.

“There are some real questions about why these tests were ordered in the first place, and why they have been left to expire.

“We know that in three weeks times these tests will be useless, why aren’t we giving them away to nations that desperately need that assistance?”

Press PLAY to hear the full interview 

In a statement Minderoo Foundation COVID-19 response lead, Dr Steve Burnell, said the equipment was precured on request of the government.

“Andrew Forrest and the Minderoo Foundation were requested by the federal government to find and procure PCR testing kits, testing laboratory equipment and PPE in March and April 2020, at the height of uncertainty and fear surrounding the pandemic and at a time when the world was facing a global shortage and intense competition for these items,” he said.

“Dr Forrest did not approach the government.

“Minderoo Foundation did not profit in any way from the assistance it provided to the federal government and the people of Australia.

“In fact all of our considerable internal costs related to the NSTAT initiative were never reimbursed.

“This cost is shouldered willingly by Minderoo Foundation in addition to the many millions of dollars we have put into our broader COVID-19 research and community initiatives that continue today in countries that are less fortunate than Australia and still battling the dire effects of this virus.”

(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Liam Bartlett
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