Coronavirus (COVID-19) Queensland border restrictions for agribusiness, food manufacturing and commercial fishing workers

Non-restricted NSW border zone

Any resident, including farmers and agribusiness workers, from a non-restricted border zone can enter Queensland (and Queensland residents can enter the non-restricted border zone) to perform any work or volunteering that cannot reasonably be performed from home.

You cannot enter Queensland under this arrangement if you have been to a restricted border zone, had contact with a New South Wales resident outside of the non-restricted border zone or been in a hot spot in the preceding 14 days.

Workers and volunteers must have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to be permitted to cross into Queensland.

A mask must be worn at all times in Queensland if you have been in the NSW border zone in the last 14 days.

Use the Check In Qld app at any Queensland farm or agribusiness you visit.

If travelling from Queensland, you must only remain in the non-restricted border zone for the time necessary to carry out 1 of the essential purposes and not meet anyone from the restricted border zone or other identified COVID-19 hot spots.

A New South Wales border zone resident from the non-restricted zone must only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to carry out one of the essential purposes.

You will need to apply online for a Queensland entry pass – X pass.

Restricted border zone—class exemption for farmers and agribusiness workers in the restricted border zone

class exemption (PDF, 96KB) has been granted by the Chief Health Officer allowing farmers and agribusinesses workers to move between Queensland and the NSW restricted border zone until 17 December 2021.

Farmers and agribusiness workers as defined in Schedule 1 of the farmer and agribusiness class exemption can enter Queensland from the restricted border zone to perform work or return to Queensland after performing work in the restricted border zone.

It is only for movement associated with performing essential farming or agribusiness work. You must read the class exemption and be aware of all conditions.

Specific types of workers and work are outlined:

  • farmers with contiguous farms dissected by the Queensland–NSW border
  • farmers travelling directly to one or more active farm production sites
  • contractors and employees of the above farmers, other than seasonal workers, if they are undertaking time critical operations and maintenance works
  • specialist farm machinery operators for time-critical agricultural operations such as planting, fertilising, spraying and harvesting
  • specialist agronomists providing time-critical crop production advice
  • specialist technicians, including maintenance and repair, for agriculture specific infrastructure and machinery, for example, a grain silo used for agricultural production storage
  • specialist veterinarians and critical support technicians that are entering to prevent significant adverse animal welfare outcomes but only where an animal cannot practicably be transported for treatment.

Anyone intending to use the class exemption should first explore alternatives to finding the services they need, unless it is unreasonable to do so.

The work activity should be time critical for production, where a delay would disrupt a food or fibre supply chain.

Other examples of suitable workers include specialised agronomists who provide specialised advice, or specialist technicians/trades with expertise to service machinery for feed mills or the grain industry.

The same urgency applies to veterinarians who need to treat farm animals, excluding domestic pets.

The following conditions must also be met:

  • evidence that you have received at least the first dose of a COVID vaccine
  • evidence of a negative test in the last 7 days and a continued rolling 7-day testing cycle
  • a quarantine management plan (class exemption) (DOC, 507KB) is in place, including wearing masks
  • records kept of any close contacts
  • travel is directly to and from the relevant farm and records can be provided of movement when requested

Isolation and masks

  • A mask must be worn at all times in Queensland if you have been in the NSW restricted border zone in the last 14 days.
  • NSW residents who need to stay overnight in Queensland will need to remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm in Queensland for the time necessary to perform the essential work.
  • returning Queenslanders must comply with stay-at-home rules for 14 days, meaning you can only leave your private residence for a select number of reasons, including
    • to perform essential agribusiness work
    • obtain food and essential medical care
    • to exercise outdoors alone or with members of the household
  • you are only allowed 2 visitors per day to enter the farm or residence in addition to anyone who usually reside at the premises.

The class exemption does not apply to anyone who has:

  • been in NSW outside the restricted or non-restricted border zone
  • been to an interstate exposure venue or is a close contact of someone who has
  • had known contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • COVID-19 symptoms.

You must apply online for a Queensland entry pass—class exemption, and you will be issued with a Z pass. Please allow a minimum of 3 days.

Please ensure you adequately describe how you meet the criteria of the class exemption.

When applying for a Queensland entry pass, you must be able to upload evidence of:

  • identity—confirming your place of residence (e.g. drivers licence)
  • employment, contract, property ownership, lease or agistment arrangements
  • a copy of the Chief Health Officer's class exemption
  • a negative COVID-19 test result was received in 7 days prior to entering Queensland
  • a quarantine management plan (class exemption) (DOC, 507KB).

If you visit a Queensland agribusiness, make sure you use the Check In Qld app.

If you do not meet these criteria you will need to apply for an essential or specialist worker exemption.

Hot spot areas outside of the NSW border zone—requirements for essential or specialist workers

If you have been in a hotspot outside the NSW restricted or non-restricted border zone in the last 14 days you will not be able to enter Queensland, unless for essential work, where an exemption has been granted (refer to the Border Restriction Direction).

Read the information and prepare the necessary documentation to support any application you make for movement across the border.

An application should be made via the COVID-19 services portal and requires endorsement from the Queensland Government.

You must upload:

  • written explanation of the essential activity the specialist worker will be undertaking in Queensland
  • documentation that demonstrates why this service is critical to Queensland
  • documentation that shows why they can't employ someone from a non-hotspot area
  • a quarantine management plan (DOCX, 546KB)
  • a health management plan from the Queensland business employing the specialist worker
  • a record of at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccination being administered.

The essential or specialist worker status must be endorsed by the Queensland Government before the person is permitted entry into Queensland. Endorsements are considered on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria.

These applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Is the work critical to Queensland, and if it is not undertaken will the facility or industry potentially not be able to continue?
  • Is there no one else in Queensland who can undertake the work?
  • Does the work need to commence without delay?
  • Does the worker need to be physically present in Queensland to perform the work?
  • The duration of the work.

Regardless of any endorsement, you must not enter Queensland if you have:

  • been to a COVID-19 interstate exposure venue or are a contact of someone who has
  • symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had known contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • been issued a quarantine or other stay at home order
  • been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting a test result, except for testing undertaken as part of a surveillance testing program.

An application should be made via the COVID-19 services portal and requires endorsement from the Queensland Government.

If an exemption is granted, the worker must carry the letter of endorsement and a quarantine management plan at all times while in Queensland.

You must keep records of close contacts.

You must have evidence of receiving at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A mask must be worn at all times in Queensland if you have been in the NSW border zone in the last 14 days.

You must monitor interstate exposure venues at least once every 24 hours for 14 days.

If you visit a Queensland agribusiness, make sure you use the Check In Qld app.

Please allow a minimum of 7 days for processing and allow a further 3 days to apply for a Queensland entry pass – specialist or essential worker – S pass.

Transporters of freight and logistics

If you are a freight and logistic operator coming to Queensland and have been in another Australian state or territory, you will need to follow the mandatory requirements and operational protocol for freight movements under the Queensland freight protocol.

The Queensland freight protocol does not apply to freight and logistics operators who work only in Queensland.

Changes to the Queensland freight protocol reflected took effect at 1am AEST, Tuesday 5 October 2021.

Grain contractors crossing the border into Queensland using an F Pass for the 2021 grain harvest should also visit the DAF Engagement Hub Managing the 2021 grain harvest for details about crossing the NSW–Queensland border and managing COVID-19 during harvest work.