Greg Hunt denies calling Queensland premier a liar after social media spat | #socialmedia


Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed families travelling into Queensland for Christmas will be able to do so without paying for COVID-19 tests.

It comes after the minister and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk traded a war of words on social media last night.

Bad blood remains between the state and federal governments after days of confusion over whether families would have to pay $150 per person, thanks to the requirement for a private PCR test.

Ms Palaszczuk took to Twitter on Tuesday night, saying she welcomed Mr Hunt’s “commitment to fund PCR tests required to enter Queensland from interstate hotspots”.

“I am pleased people can look forward to being re-united in time for Christmas – without additional cost – as my government had always planned.”

To which Mr Hunt replied in his own Tweet: “The claim is false.”

“The Commonwealth has always funded 50 per cent of the cost of the PCR tests, as outlined in the Agreement the Premier signed on 13 March 2020.”

Mr Hunt was questioned about the spat on the Today show, with host Allison Langdon asking the minister: “Are you calling the Queensland premier a liar?”

The health minister denied he was, instead saying his focus was on ensuring families could reunite for Christmas.

“For 18 months we have had the world’s best testing system in my judgment … that was threatened for a couple of days by the Queensland premier,” Mr Hunt said. 

Mr Hunt said “common sense” had prevailed.

“Fortunately they have accepted that we continue with the 50-50 payment and what that means is for individuals, for families that want to be reunited, they have the same access to tests as they have always had, no change at our end,” Mr Hunt said.

“We pleased that Queensland has agreed to continue doing what has always been the case where if you are under a Public Health Order you can get a test.”

The Queensland Premier announced tonight the federal government would help fund travel related PCR tests required to enter Queensland. (Nine)

Ms Palaszczuk had earlier called on Mr Hunt to make PCR tests eligible for a Medicare rebate.

But Mr Hunt said PCR tests at government-run sites were already free, and travellers would only be charged if they needed an official test certificate rather than the text-message confirmation system already in place.

The premier insisted the confusion did not come from her government and also described the eventual outcome as “a major win for common sense”.

“I said we work best when we work together. This proves it,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk also addressed new bans on short trips to COVID-19 hotspots, closing a loophole that would allow Queenslanders to use the same PCR test upon leaving and entering the state provided they did so within the 72-hour mandatory testing period.

Queenslanders won’t be able to take trips shorter than three days until the state reaches its 90 per cent vaccination target, expected in January.

“It’s about keeping the rest of the community safe and we’re at 86.4 per cent (single dose) so we are getting there. We need people to get vaccinated,” Ms Palaszczuk said.



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