Dear Department of Health,
On 29 April 2020, Federal Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and Minderoo Foundation Chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, have announced the ground-breaking partnership formed between the Australian Federal Government and Minderoo Foundation to secure an abundance of COVID-19 testing kits and other equipment, in a mission to eliminate COVID-19 in Australia.
In collaboration with medical diagnostics providers Sonic Healthcare (Sonic) and Healius, and backed by the State Governments and the Federal Government, 11 new testing labs have been set up for rapid test processing and analysis. BGI's proprietary Huo-Yan (Fire-Eye) laboratory solution is an emergency test lab empowered by BGI’s RT-PCR kits and automated nucleic acid extraction systems such as MGISP-960.
The information I request from the department please is:
- In what states and locations were the 11 BGI Huo-Yan laboratories set up?
- Are they all currently processing test samples?
- What states are using the BGI RT-PCR test kits for their covid population testing programs?
- What quantities of PCR test kits and reagent were supplied to the Australian government by BGI in partnership with Mindaroo?
- How many kits and reagent has been distributed to which states, if any and how many have been added to the National Medical Stockpile for future use?
- Have any of either the federal or respective states' public health reference laboratories eg. VIDRL etc been able to succesfully integrate BGI's Huo Yang solution into their existing lab processes? Or
- Are the BGI test labs operating as standalone laboratories specifically for the rapid processing of test samples using the BGI test kits supplied?
Thank you in advance for facilitating the information I request above. Mindaroo and BGI have not been forthcoming with answers to these questions which is strange, thus I am making this FOI request.
Dear Ms Black
I refer to your below email of 28 August 2020 to the Department of Health
The department is unable to determine what documents you are requesting as
your request in its current form appears to be a set of questions, not a
request for access to documents, and therefore is not a valid request
under section 15 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).
Section 15 of the FOI Act requires that a request for access meets certain
requirements. To be valid, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request must:
• state that the request is an application for purposes of the FOI Act;
• provide sufficient information about the document(s) to allow us to
process the request; and
• provide an address for reply.
Further information about how to apply for your FOI is available on the
Please note that the FOI Act does not provide a mechanism to obtain
information or answers to questions. It is a mechanism to seek access to
documents held by government entities.
In order for your correspondence to be considered valid and processed
under the provisions of the FOI Act, further information is required to
enable the department to identify the document or documents you are
Please contact the FOI Unit should you have any further questions.
FOI Unit – FOI and Legislation Section
Legal & Assurance Division | Corporate Operations Group
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