ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has been forced to revise advice on PCR tests for domestic travel for a second time, after she was contradicted by comments made by federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Ms Stephen-Smith said people who required confirmation of a negative COVID-19 result via text, would not have to pay for PCR tests for interstate travel at government-run clinics.
"What Minister Hunt has clarified, and I've also got clarification from Canberra Health Services this morning is his understanding that the national partnership agreement will fund any test that is required as part of a public health order," she told the ABC.
"So that includes if another jurisdiction requires a COVID-19 test as part of their border crossing requirements, so that would cover people who only needed that text message confirmation to go into another state, Queensland for example."
She clarified that people who required a certificate of their result would have to pay a fee of $112.
Ms Stephen-Smith said it had been "a really confusing 48 hours", after she had initially set out on Tuesday that government facilities would not undertake tests where people were required to pay.
She later said the government facilities would charge for tests in certain circumstances, including when people needed a negative result to travel, prior to her comments on Wednesday morning.
The ACT government offers free testing for people who have COVID-19 symptoms or for those who have been deemed close or casual contacts.
There was conflicting advice on Tuesday regarding whether the government would charge for tests, after some people reported being charged a $110 fee.
Ms Stephen-Smith was asked about this fee in question time.
"I'm going to take this question on notice because my understanding is that we're not actually charging fees at free government testing sites," she said.
"And so I have heard this a number of times that people have been told that they can get their test result if they pay for it but that's not the advice that I have received so I think there are some mixed messages here."
But after question time, Ms Stephen-Smith informed the Assembly that the government would charge people for some tests.
She said there had been some inconsistent advice about this and the government would seek to clear this up.
The opposition slammed the Health Minister and claimed that Ms Stephen-Smith was caught out by the blunder.
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Opposition health spokeswoman Giulia Jones also questioned why the government could not offer the service cheaper.
"Families wanting to travel at Christmas may have to get four or five of these tests just to get on a plane," Mrs Jones said.
"This is potentially another huge financial burden on Canberra families at this time of the year, after a very difficult lockdown period."
There has been a spike in testing demand in Canberra over recent weeks, which has been driven by an increase in nightclub exposure sites.
The ACT reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday.
There are six people in hospital because of COVID, three are in intensive care and two are being ventilated.
Burgmann Anglican School became the latest school to be exposed to COVID-19, after a positive case attended the Forde campus on November 19 and 22.
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