Coronavirus (COVID-19) Queensland border restrictions for agribusiness, food manufacturing and commercial fishing workers
- The Queensland/New South Wales border has been closed as of 1am AEST Friday 23 July 2021 and all of New South Wales is now a declared hotspot.
- You are not able to enter Queensland if you have been in a currently declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days, or since the start date identified for the COVID-19 hotspot (unless you are a Queensland resident).
- Anyone that has completed a Queensland border declaration pass is required to monitor the list of interstate exposure venues at least once every 24 hours from the time they complete their declaration and for 14 days after entering Queensland
- Refer to the reference table (PDF, 231KB) to better understand the various requirements when crossing the border between NSW and Queensland.
Travelling from interstate
Anyone who has been in a hotspot in the last 14 days will not be able to enter Queensland, unless for essential purposes (refer to the Border Restriction Direction).
Anyone coming from a hotspot area may apply for an exemption and they will require a valid border declaration pass to enter Queensland. Please allow a minimum of 7 days to apply for an exemption and a further 3 days for a border declaration pass.
Class exemption for farmers and agribusiness workers
A class exemption (PDF, 96KB) has been granted by the Chief Health Officer for farmers and agribusiness workers to move across the Queensland border until 11:59pm, 20 August 2021.
The class exemption is only for movement associated with performing essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities, including the care of livestock. It is not available for workers involved in picking, packing, sorting and meat processing.
Anyone who has travelled into Greater Sydney in the last 14 days cannot use the class exemption to enter Queensland—they will need to apply for exemption as a specialist worker (see below).
Also, the class exemption does not apply to anyone who has been to an interstate exposure site, is a close contact, has had known contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or has COVID-19 symptoms (unless cleared by a medical practitioner or provides a negative COVID-19 test no greater than 3 days prior to travel).
The class exemption has been provided on the basis of managing risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Each farmer or worker must review the hotspot declarations in place at the time of their entry to Queensland to determine if they are subject to further requirements or obligations.
Before travelling to Queensland, farmers and agribusiness workers must complete online a Queensland Border Declaration Pass—class exemption—Z pass. Describe your right of entry as 'I have an exemption granted by the Chief Health Officer.'
To enter Queensland under a class exemption, you must carry the following:
- a Queensland border declaration pass
- a copy of the Chief Health Officer's class exemption letter (PDF, 96KB)
- evidence of your identity which confirms place of residence (e.g. a driver licence)
- evidence of your employment, contract, property ownership, lease or agistment arrangements
- provide information you have attempted to source the skills from a non-hotspot in another state or territory and that it has either been genuinely not possible to do so, or is cost or time-prohibitive.
As an exempt class of person, farmers and agribusiness workers:
- must put into place a quarantine management plan (including wearing masks, use of the Check In Qld app where possible, and records of movements that can be provided on request)
- must travel directly to and from the relevant farm or premises
- must only exit their mode of transport to access rest stop facilities, refuelling, and activities directly related to their agribusiness activity or to meet required regulation activities such as workplace health and safety or fatigue management
- may stay at overnight accommodation when necessary in order to fulfil fatigue management requirements
- who are Queensland residents must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm in New South Wales until the person returns to Queensland
- who are New South Wales residents must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm in Queensland until the person departs Queensland or for 14 days, whichever period is shorter. They must only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to perform the essential agribusiness or farming activities.
If you do not meet one of these criteria and you need to enter Queensland to provide services critical to agribusiness operation, you will need to apply for a specialist worker exemption (see below).
Specialist or essential workers travelling from a COVID hotspot
A specialist or essential worker is a person who is endorsed as a specialist or essential worker by a relevant Queensland Government agency and provides services that:
- are needed in Queensland
- cannot be obtained in Queensland or another COVID free area
- must be provided without delay
- the person must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service
- the person's employer or business has a quarantine management plan and the plan is in the form approved by the Chief Health Officer.
Endorsements are considered on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria. We are unable to discuss individual circumstances and applications.
Employers are strongly encouraged to have resourcing and workforce plans in place and not just rely on specialist worker or essential worker endorsements being granted.
You should allow at least 7 working days for your specialist or essential application to be assessed and a further 3 days once notified of the outcome for processing of your electronic border declaration pass.
Before applying for a specialist or essential worker border declaration pass (S Pass) you must first apply for and receive an endorsement as a specialist or essential worker.
You only need to apply for a specialist or essential worker exemption if you are a farmer or agribusiness worker who is coming from a COVID-19 hotspot.
The status of the person as a specialist or essential worker must be endorsed by the relevant Queensland Government agency before they may enter Queensland.
Specialist or essential worker endorsement applications may be submitted either by the employer, government agency or entity that the specialist worker is working or contracting for or by the worker who is seeking the endorsement with their employer's support.
If a worker is self-employed, they may apply themselves, with details of their business.
An application for a specialist-worker endorsement should be made via the COVID-19 services portal with the following evidence:
- A written explanation of the essential activity the specialist worker will be undertaking in Queensland
- Documentation that demonstrates why this service is critical to Queensland. It must detail why:
- these services are needed in Queensland
- these services cannot be obtained in Queensland
- these services must be provided without delay
- the specialist worker must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service or perform the duty.
- The application must include as attachments:
- a copy of the quarantine management plan (DOCX, 546KB) held by the person's employer or business describing how the worker(s) will minimise contact with others
If an endorsement is granted, the specialist worker will need to provide the following information on arrival in Queensland:
- their border declaration pass (essential activity)
- evidence of their status as an approved specialist worker (the letter of endorsement from a Queensland Government agency)
- the quarantine management plan.
The specialist or essential worker must carry the letter of endorsement and quarantine management plan at all times, while in Queensland.
Transporters of freight and logistics
The Queensland freight protocol is necessary to manage the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from freight and logistics operators who are travelling to and from Queensland.
Freight drivers who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot or declared affected area in the last 14 days are required to have a valid Queensland border declaration pass–Freight and Logistics Pass (F Pass) and adhere to the Queensland freight protocol.
An amended operational protocol for freight movements entering Queensland will include a transitional provision to specify that the new mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements under the protocol will come into effect at 1am on 30 July 2021.
A summary of the declaration and COVID-19 mandatory testing for freight and logistics operators (PDF, 127KB) entering Queensland is available.
To minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, freight and logistics operators should use their best endeavours to voluntarily comply with the testing requirements. Mandatory testing will help to keep our essential drivers, their families, and the community safe from the spread of COVID-19.
Changes to the Freight and Logistics Pass (F Pass) will be updated as soon as possible
- You must be able to access a copy of your employer's or operator's current COVID safe workplan, where one is required and available.
- You must remain isolated from the general public in your vehicle or accommodation until you depart Queensland, or for 14 days, whichever period is shorter.
- You must collect and maintain written records of close contacts while you are in Queensland for 14 days after you arrive in Queensland, or until you depart Queensland if the period if less than 14 days.
- You are required to maintain these records until 14 days have passed since you were last in a COVID-19 hotspot.
Non-Queensland residents should only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to complete the freight and logistics activity.
Queensland Health has advised that the new mandatory testing requirements, under the Queensland Freight Protocol and the class exemption, will not apply to freight and logistics operators who only travel between Queensland and the New South Wales Border Zone (or other non-COVID-19 hotspots).
- Last reviewed: 24 Jul 2021
- Last updated: 30 Jul 2021