Charities and frontline services are spending millions of dollars on personal protective equipment and rapid antigen tests as government tells the sector they will have to wait until March for help.

Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh wrote to the Premier and Ministers on Tuesday 11 January and is yet to receive a proper response.

“Our workers are on the front line, delivering essential services without the protection they need,” said McVeigh.

“These charities are already responding to much greater demand for their services and now their low cash reserves are being spent on sourcing masks, gowns and rapid antigen tests.

“Not only are services responding to Queensland’s COVID crisis, but in some cases, are also responding to the needs of their communities in the wake of major flooding and cyclones.

“Some services have exhausted their supplies of masks and sanitiser and have been told that they cannot expect a delivery before March from the state government. It’s not good enough.”

QCOSS has requested the state government immediately establish a grants fund to address the urgent needs of the community sector.

“We know that there is a shortage of rapid antigen tests, but we need a plan to ensure community organisation can get what they need to continue their vital work.

“Otherwise, our essential services including domestic violence prevention and support, housing and homelessness, emergency food relief will be further disrupted and Queenslanders will suffer.”

21 January 2022