1196 new cases in Victoria, three deaths; Man arrested over missing Victorian campers Carol Clay and Russell Hill; Queensland COVID-19 testing row resolved; NSW records 248 total new cases

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.

“I welcome the Federal Health Minister’s commitment to fund PCR tests required to enter Queensland from interstate hotspots,” Ms Palaszczuk wrote in a Tweet.

“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 co-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.”

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