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Tech tycoon's fury as thousands of RAT tests tied up in border red tape

Business

Technology entrepreneur Bevan Slattery has sounded off over Border Force “fumbling” the imports of rapid antigen test kits meant for his staff but still sitting in a customs office.

 

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The Brisbane based Slattery said business was told buy its own RAT tests for staff.

“So we did. Why then is Australian Customs (now Border Force) sitting on them, not allowing our staff to get access to critical RAT tests for workplace safety?
“This is a shipment put together by our overseas staff to our Australian Head Office – sent on the December 30.

“And instead of giving them to staff and reducing supply pressures, customs are fumbling over paperwork, concerned that these tests might be resold for a profit.

“Why are customs penalising our staff’s health and safety? You’ve received a letter from (our) headquarters outlining these are for our staff.

“It’s unconscionable to punish businesses further.”

Slattery’s comments follow estimates by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry that it would collectively cost Queensland business $45 million a week to buy RAT kits for staff.

Meanwhile BHP has warned Covid-related absenteeism has hit its Queensland coal mines and would remain an issue for the rest of the year.

Covid’s impact has also spread to BHP’s Queensland coal mine workforce  where production has already been hit by the wet season and Covid issues.

“Following the recent easing of Queensland border restrictions, Covid-related absenteeism has increased and remains a risk for the remainder of the year,” the company said in its latest production report.

The report also showed a sharp downturn in metallurgical coal output. It fell 8 per cent to 18 million tonnes.

“Guidance for the 2022 financial year has been reduced to between 38mt and 41mt (from 49mt-44mt),” the company said.

“Queensland coal production decreased due to significant wet weather, with double the amount of rainfall, coupled with Covid-19 related labour constraints impacting on stripping and mine productivity across all operations.”

 

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