Guidelines for border restriction exemptions for the resources sector
These limited exceptions may include:
- specialist workers who are required in Queensland to perform an essential and time-critical activity
- workers required to respond to certain emergency events and provide emergency services.
Travelling from other locations
You don't need to apply for an exemption if you're coming from areas that aren't COVID-19 hotspots. However, everyone entering Queensland is required to apply for a border pass prior to entry.
Specialist worker exemptions
Any exemption issued under a previous border direction is not valid under this new process – you must apply for a new exemption. Note that a previous approval for exemption does not guarantee approval under the new direction.
Criteria for specialist workers
A specialist worker must meet all the following criteria:
- the services provided by the person cannot be obtained in Queensland and all efforts have been made to replace this person
- the service must be provided without delay and have a direct and significant impact on current production if not provided
- the work cannot be deferred
- the person must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service or perform the duty
- the person's employer has a quarantine management plan
- the person's employer has a plan to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among its employees and the community, and the plan complies with the requirements specified by the Chief Health Officer
- the person provides evidence of the following information upon arrival in Queensland:
- their status as an approved specialist worker
- the name of their employer
- that they are entering Queensland to go directly to work
- the location of the worksite or work camp
- the location of where they will be accommodated in Queensland while performing the essential activity
- the person complies with any conditions forming part of their approval as a specialist worker.
Guidance on justifying exemption applications
The considerations that will be applied in assessing applications are significantly more restrictive than previous exemption processes and it is expected that any exemptions granted will be exceptions. It is currently expected that essential workers will only be granted exemptions in extremely limited circumstances. Companies are urged to exhaust all other avenues for finding alternatives from non-hotspot areas.
The Department of Resources will only consider applications for the following:
- Workers appointed to a statutory role required under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 (CMSH Act), the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 (MQSH Act) or the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 (P&G Act)
- Safety critical positions where there is a clear and present need for their entry into Queensland. Examples of safety critical positions include:
- workers required to conduct essential safety maintenance and safety compliance activities where if the activity is not undertaken it would result in unacceptable safety risk
- persons identified in the management structure for a mine under section 50 of the MQSH Act or section 55 of the CMSH Act
- workers involved in an emergency response
- workers who must hold a competency to undertake a task at a resources operation as required by the Coal Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee and Mining Safety and Health Advisory Committee. The roles are published as:
- coal (except for item 1): recognised competencies for coal mining statutory positions in Queensland (PDF, 389KB)
- minerals and quarries: recognised competencies for mining statutory positions in Queensland (PDF, 276KB)
- Production critical positions in very limited circumstances where the absence of the worker would require complete and/or substantial shut-down of operations.
Meeting these criteria will not result in automatic exemption. The Chief Health Officer will also need to consider broader health factors. In all cases applicants will also be required to demonstrate with detailed evidence the following considerations:
- why they have not replaced this position with a Queensland-based employee – noting that significant time has passed allowing recruitment to take place
- the skill set is genuinely and manifestly not available within Queensland beyond being an inconvenience or economically detrimental to source the local labour
- why they cannot go through 14 days self-funded quarantine based on nature and timing of their work.
The following reasons are unlikely to be considered a justifiable reason for an exemption:
- Production staff where the absence of the staff member will not result in a total or substantial shut down of the operation. If the impact (which will need to be justified by the applicant) is only partial, minor or will have an impact on efficiency or efficacy, then this will not generally be considered.
- Applications directly from contractors or consultants – all applications must be passed through the company or operator.
- Contractual arrangements – a contractual arrangement with a consultant or contractor will not be considered a valid justification for an exemption to be granted.
- Periodic return home off roster – exemptions will not be considered that provides for the regular movement into and out of Queensland because of shift arrangements.
- Employees engaged in exploration work, mine planning and expansion, approvals, environmental monitoring, geotechnical or mine surveying activities.
- For a mine, an employee whose role is not:
- one within the mine's management structure (see section 55 of the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999 and section 50 of the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999)
- one which reports into the management structure and whose duties are carried out at site.
Who can apply
Applications will only be accepted from a mining or petroleum company that holds a valid Queensland resource authority.
Applications received directly from consultants, contractors and individuals will be rejected.
When to apply
- Exemptions are one-off and time bound.
- Workers require a new exemption every time they enter Queensland. For example, if a worker leaves Queensland and seeks to re-enter Queensland later, you must apply for another exemption.
- You should allow at least 14 days for your application to be processed.
How to apply
- Set up your account, then sign-in to the Queensland Health exemption and waiver service portal.
- Under the exemption type drop-down, select the type of exemption you are seeking.
- When prompted, select the correct industry work type from the available drop-down list (there is an 'other' category if the applicable industry work type cannot be located).
- Complete all demographic information fields.
- Upload an approved quarantine management plan.
- When prompted, answer questions to demonstrate:
- why the services to be provided cannot be obtained in Queensland
- why the services must be provided without delay
- why the specialist worker must be physically present in Queensland to provide the service or perform the duty.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you provide as much information as possible when applying for an exemption.
What happens next
Workers cannot enter Queensland until your application has been processed and the exemption granted.
Once submitted, the application will be forwarded to the relevant Queensland Government agency for consideration.
Once the review and assessment process is complete, you will receive an email advising that the employee(s) have qualified for exemption.
You must provide a copy of the letter to the relevant workers. This letter can be presented to border authorities when entering Queensland.
Conditions of entry
If granted, the exemption allows the employee or contractor to travel to Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot subject to the requirements of the border restrictions direction.
Emergency event exemptions
There is currently an application procedure available to help industry respond to emergency events and provide emergency services. This is only required if travel is from a declared COVID-19 hotspot.
An 'emergency event' means a time-critical situation that if not urgently attended to could result in a life-or-death situation:
- Fill out the Emergency event employer confirmation statement (DOCX, 18KB) and email to COVID@resources.qld.gov.au.
- Phone the 24/7 Emergency event line to confirm receipt of template or to seek assistance: 0416 985 031.
- The department will assess the application and provide an approval letter via email.
- Complete and print out the relevant Queensland Border Pass (including relevant details of the emergency).
- Make sure you provide the worker(s) with the required documentation for presentation on entering Queensland (see below).
Worker documentation requirements
When entering Queensland, workers responding to emergency events must have:
- Queensland Border Pass
- the name of their employer
- a statement from their employer confirming the emergency event (can be the already completed template including the company's signature block)
- a letter of endorsement from the relevant Queensland Government agency confirming the emergency event and that the service is critical
- the location of your worksite.
- Last reviewed: 3 Dec 2020
- Last updated: 25 Aug 2021