Farrer MP Sussan Ley has called on the state government to consider using rapid antigen testing as a way to reboot COVID-19 free regional areas like Albury.
Ms Ley, a former federal health minister, pointed out employers, industry, schools and government agencies were already using rapid screening in a bid to keep their sites coronavirus free.
Regional NSW has been locked down for three weeks with border communities further economic pain inflicted by border closure rules.
"Why not broaden the use of this faster test, funded either by the state or Medicare, then use it as condition of entry into retail and hospitality businesses in COVID-free zones," Ms Ley said.
"Right now, we have people who've had one vaccination, are on a waiting list, or yet to even decide on getting the jab.
"Meanwhile there are families, schoolchildren and businesses unnecessarily facing more months of lockdown.
"Rightly, they can't fathom why we're being shut down when cases are hundreds of kilometres away (and) nor can I."
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Dean Street pharmacist Amanda Ward said she was fully supportive of the trial locally.
"It is a great alternative in a COVID-free local government area," she said.
"At the moment the turnaround time for our testing is up to 48 hours, which is really impacting the workforce.
"The minute staff have got a cold they have to go off and I haven't got them for two days.
"Pharmacy doesn't change so to have access to Rapid Antigen testing and have the turnaround for staff so much quicker would be so much better.
"It also means we can open up cafes.
"Our economy is dying and everywhere is, but it so much harder being on the border."
Albury Business Connect chairman Barry Young also backed the trial.
"Anything that would help sway the NSW government to allow us out of lockdown we would be supportive of," he said.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said his government was awaiting a response from federal body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, on rapid testing.
He also hoped Albury and other COVID-19 free regional areas would come out of lockdown earlier.
"We're a big fan of rapid antigen testing," he said.
"But I'm looking more regional (in reopening), I don't think we need to do testing in relation to that.
"We're going to make a decision based on risk.
"We're getting closer to the 70 cent (vaccination) roadmap and then the world changes, lockdowns should be something of the past."
Ms Ley said a rapid test system trial in Albury wouldn't replace mask-wearing, hand hygiene and distancing rules.
"We're all exhausted at hearing what we can't do, my communities want to know what they can do to get back to COVID-normal, and this is one pathway to make that happen sooner," she said.
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