Senior state government members had for days answered questions about such a cost and whether the state would meet some of it by saying only that other states were also requiring the tests and that it was a Commonwealth responsibility under Medicare subsidies.
Pressed further on Friday, after revealing she had not spoken to her federal counterpart Greg Hunt for at least three weeks, Ms D’Ath reiterated Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s comments that the issue had been addressed.
“I think we need to move on,” Ms D’Ath said. “I’ve just given you an apology. We have provided clarity, the Commonwealth provided clarity. Now let’s get people vaccinated.”
Asked when health directions underpinning the rules would be made public, Ms D’Ath said the government had already given clarity by cementing the December 17 date instead of linking it to an 80 per cent vaccination rate.
“We have given a commitment that we will provide the directions and we will publicly release directions at least a week before then, but I’m hoping much sooner than that,” she said.
The next phase of Queensland’s border reopening, which will allow vaccinated people with proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the state without quarantine, could come up to 10 days earlier.
While other states such as Tasmania will not require residents who have left the state for fewer than seven days to provide evidence of a negative test on their return, Ms D’Ath said Queensland had no plans for such a measure.
Queensland will still require the test results until it reaches a 90 per cent vaccination rate, expected in January — essentially ruling out short trips interstate and another potential hurdle for residents who become infected while beyond the state borders.
The state conducted more than 9000 tests in the 24 hours to Friday morning and authorities expected to reach a 75 per cent full vaccination rate once the latest data is released.
A total of 4681 people were in home quarantine on Friday after entering Queensland under border rules relaxed last week.
Ms D’Ath urged people not yet vaccinated to take advantage of pop-up vaccine clinics this weekend in tourist venues and shopping centres, particularly on the border-hugging Gold Coast.
The Morning Edition newsletter is your guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.