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

If you are a farmer or agribusiness worker, who is a resident of Queensland or New South Wales, check if you are eligible for a class exemption prior to applying as a specialist worker.

Restrictions are in place to limit people coming into Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot.

People who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days will only be able to enter Queensland if they are a returning Queensland resident or under an exemption for essential activities.

Essential activities for which you may be allowed entry

A class exemption for farmers and agribusiness workers

The 1-month class exemption that commenced on 22 August 2020 has been extended for 1 month from 21 September 2020.

The class exemption is for farmers and agribusiness workers needing to move between Queensland and New South Wales to perform essential agribusiness services or farming activities, such as tending to livestock or crops. The class exemption does not apply to seasonal workers.

To be eligible for the exemption you must be a:

  1. Queensland resident who needs to re-enter Queensland after travelling to New South Wales to perform essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities
  2. Queensland resident who needs to re-enter Queensland after entering New South Wales to access or provide timely veterinary services, or to provide care for livestock
  3. New South Wales resident who needs to enter Queensland to perform essential agribusiness services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities
  4. New South Wales resident who needs to access Queensland to access or provide timely veterinary services, or to provide care for livestock.

If you do not meet one of these criteria and you need to enter Queensland to provide services critical to agribusiness operation, you may be eligible to apply for a specialist worker exemption (see below).

To enter Queensland under a class exemption, you will need:

  1. A copy of the Chief Health Officer's class exemption letter from 21 September 2020 (PDF, 178KB)
  2. Evidence of your identity, confirming your place of residence
  3. Evidence you are an agribusiness essential worker (e.g. letter of employment, business contract, evidence of property ownership or lease, evidence of agistment arrangements).

You will need to complete a written Queensland border declaration pass upon arrival at the Queensland border. You will not be able to complete an electronic Queensland border declaration pass.

Requirements for workers travelling under the class exemption

All agribusinesses must have a plan in place to prevent the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 among workers and the community. You are also encouraged to have a worker-specific quarantine management plan (DOCX, 121KB) showing how you will minimise interactions with the community.

Queensland residents:

  • 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
  • must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm in New South Wales until they return to Queensland
  • must only remain in New South Wales for the time necessary to perform the essential agribusiness or farming activities.

New South Wales residents:

  • 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
  • must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm in Queensland until they depart Queensland or for 14 days, whichever period is shorter
  • must only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to perform the essential agribusiness or farming activities.

Specialist worker

A specialist worker is a person who provides emergency services or continuity of government or government-funded services, industry, infrastructure or utilities critical to Queensland, in industries including agribusiness, commercial fishing and food manufacturing (for example, critical agricultural operations necessary to maintain food supply). Read the industry applicant guidelines for advice on the type of specialist workers considered for an exemption (PDF, 520KB).

If you are unable to source a specialist worker in Queensland or outside the declared COVID-19 hotspots, you can apply for an exemption.

Exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria and will be very limited. We are unable to discuss individual circumstances and applications. You should allow at least 5 working days for your application to be assessed.

Specialist worker exemption applications must be submitted by the employer, government agency or entity that the specialist worker is working/contracting for, with evidence of the following:

  1. A written explanation of the essential activity the specialist worker will be undertaking in Queensland
  2. Documentation that demonstrates why this service is critical to Queensland. It must detail why:
    1. these services cannot be obtained in Queensland
    2. these services must be provided without delay
    3. the specialist worker must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service or perform the duty.
  3. The application must also include as attachments:
    1. the employer's plan to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among employees and the community (for example, a workplace health management plan or workplace health and safety plan)
    2. a detailed quarantine management plan for the specialist worker(s), describing all travel arrangements and how the worker(s) will minimise contact with others.

If an exemption is granted, an exempt specialist worker will need to provide the following information on arrival in Queensland:

  1. your status as an approved specialist worker
  2. name of your employer
  3. that you are entering Queensland to go directly to work
  4. your worksite location
  5. where your accommodation is located in Queensland while performing the essential activity.

Employers are strongly encouraged to have resourcing and workforce plans in place and not rely on exemptions being granted.

Specialist worker application process

If you are a farmer or agribusiness worker who is a resident of Queensland or New South Wales, check if you are eligible for a class exemption prior to applying as a specialist worker.

The status of the person as a specialist worker must be approved by the Chief Health Officer through the exemption process. To apply for a specialist worker exemption:

  1. The business or company seeking to bring the specialist worker into Queensland completes the application for specialist worker exemption.
  2. The application will be assessed against the criteria outlined in the industry applicants guideline (PDF, 520KB).
  3. If approval is given, a letter will be sent to the business/company advising that the specialist worker(s) has been granted an exemption from the Chief Health Officer.
  4. The business/company should provide a copy of the letter to the relevant specialist worker to support their Border declaration pass on entry to Queensland.
  5. The business/company and specialist worker must abide by the public health directions and any additional requirements outlined in the exemption letter.

Transporters of freight and logistics

Exemptions continue to be in place for transporters of freight and logistics to ensure the delivery of essential food and supplies. You do not need to apply for an exemption from the Chief Health Officer to undertake transport of freight or logistics into, from or through Queensland.

The Queensland freight protocol came into effect on Wednesday 23 September 2020.

The protocol applies to heavy vehicle drivers, rail crew and drivers, passenger transport operations, non-heavy vehicle commercial freight operators, logistics and support workers, and any other persons essential to the delivery of freight in the course of a commercial freight movement, if they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days prior to their arrival in Queensland.

  • If you are entering Queensland you must have a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Freight and Logistics).
  • On entry into Queensland, 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.
  • Queensland residents are required to maintain these records until 14 days have passed since they 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.

Read more about restrictions on freight and logistics operators entering Queensland.

Border zone residents

Due to the reduced risk of COVID-19 transmission in northern New South Wales, changes have been made regarding border zone communities.

From Thursday 1 October:

  • the Queensland border zone will no longer exist
  • the New South Wales border zone will be extended
  • Queensland residents will be able to travel anywhere in the New South Wales border zone for any purpose
  • New South Wales border zone residents will be able to travel anywhere in Queensland for any purpose.

Read more about the border zone and view a map.

Summary of requirements for entering Queensland to work in agribusiness and commercial fishing

  

Outside Australia in the last 14 days

You are required to quarantine in nominated premises for 14 days within Queensland.

Interstate (not a COVID-19 hotspot)

You must complete a Queensland border declaration pass.

You are not required to quarantine.

Interstate (not COVID-19 hotspot) and in the last 14 days have:

  • been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19
  • had symptoms consistent with COVID-19

You must complete a Queensland border declaration pass.

You are required to quarantine in nominated premises for 14 days at your own expense.

COVID-19 hotspot (no exemption)

You are not allowed to enter Queensland.

COVID-19 hotspot – living in the NSW–QLD border zone

Queensland border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in NSW (but can travel anywhere within Queensland) and NSW border zone residents cannot travel outside the border zone in either Queensland or NSW.

You must complete a Queensland border declaration pass.

Please note: Changes to the border zones come into effect on 1 October 2020:

  • the Queensland border zone will no longer exist
  • the New South Wales border zone will be extended
  • Queensland residents will be able to travel anywhere in the New South Wales border zone for any purpose
  • New South Wales border zone residents will be able to travel anywhere in Queensland for any purpose.

COVID-19 hotspot – existing or new Queensland resident

You must complete a Queensland border declaration pass.

You are required to quarantine in nominated premises for 14 days at your own expense.

COVID-19 hotspot – essential activity exemption – specialist worker
Application for exemption required, including a health management plan and quarantine management plan.

Quarantine requirements will be outlined in your exemption approval.

You will be required to complete a written declaration at the border.

COVID-19 hotspot – class exemption – farm and agribusiness workers

You must provide:

You will be required to complete a written declaration at the border.

COVID-19 hotspot – essential activity – transport of freight and logistics

You must complete a Queensland border declaration pass and meet the requirements under the Queensland freight protocol.

Confirmed case of COVID-19 or have been cleared of COVID-19 (no exemption) You are not allowed to enter Queensland.

More information

Disclaimer

While every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of this information, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries does not invite reliance upon it, nor accept responsibility for any loss or damage caused by actions based on it.

Contact

General enquiries 13 25 23