TWO Riverina MPs will donate 20 rapid antigen tests, provided by the NSW parliament, to community groups, but a third politician plans to keep the kits for her staff.
The members for Albury and Wagga, Justin Clancy and Joe McGirr, said they would give away the tests, but member for Murray Helen Dalton expects her office personnel to use them.
The issuing of the devices has been contentious, given the scarcity and expense of rapid antigen tests.
Mr Clancy said he would hand his 20 to an Albury charity that provides shelters for the homeless and domestic violence victims.
"We recognise how difficult it is to obtain tests in the community and we will send them directly on to Yes Unlimited," he said.
"It's a good opportunity to recognise the work they do in the community."
Yes Unlimited chief executive Di Glover appreciated the move.
"We're very gratetul to have that offer and we'll definitely use them," she said.
"We've been going through them very quickly and our stocks are getting low."
A number of staff and clients have had COVID but refuges have stayed open under some duress.
Dr McGirr was diagnosed with COVID last week and continues to isolate.
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He received his testing gear on Thursday and will donate them to a community group.
"I had asked that, in light of the shortages of rapid antigen tests in NSW, the decision to allocate 20 tests to each state MP's electorate office be reconsidered," Dr McGirr said.
Mrs Dalton said some of her staff in Deniliquin were infected with COVID and she believed the testing kits were necessary and government should have done more to ensure RATs were available..
"I think people might perceive at as us being set apart and privileged but we do get out with the community and the community needs to know we're okay," she said.
"There's only 20 tests and I've got seven staff and casuals."
Riverina Upper House MP Wes Fang does not qualify for the RATs because he does not have an office.
.@NSWLabor state MPs say that the free rapid antigen test kits that the state government is sending to their offices will be forwarded to vulnerable community groups and charities. https://t.co/lrCYX8y0KM#nswpol#7NEWShttps://t.co/x2nDL60ZBBpic.twitter.com/EGC405Cfoz— 7NEWS Sydney (@7NewsSydney) January 13, 2022
He noted it was a bureaucratic decision by the Department of Parliamentary Services to distribute the goods rather than a government one.
"It's not unreasonable and the community would reasonably expect members of parliament aren't incubators for any spread," Mr Fang said.
He pointed to his National Party colleagues and ministers Paul Toole, Sarah Mitchell and Ben Franklin who all have COVID.
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