A major breakthrough in Queensland’s COVID-19 border restrictions will allow farmers from northern NSW to harvest crops and tend their properties, with Northern Tablelands MP and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall today welcoming a new border exemption for agribusinesses.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer has today issued a class exemption for farmers and agribusiness workers needing to move between Queensland and NSW to perform essential agribusiness services or farming activities such as tending to livestock or crops.
Mr Marshall had been lobbying for this outcome ever since the hard border cut local farmers off from their livelihoods three weeks ago.
“Finally, a common sense outcome which keeps fresh produce on the shelves and allows farmers to harvest their first crop in more than three years,” Mr Marshall said.
“This is really good news for our region and should ensure harvest can go ahead without any problems.
“Under the exemption, NSW residents are able to enter Queensland to perform essential agribusiness services for the supply chain or to provide care for livestock.
“Those operators needing to cross the border must provide a copy of the Chief Health Officers ‘class exemption letter’, personal identification with address and evidence they are an agribusiness essential worker, either through a letter of employment, business contract, evidence of property ownership or lease.
“While in Queensland NSW residents must remain isolated, to the extent reasonably practicable, from the general public at the agribusiness or farm until they depart and only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to perform the essential agribusiness or farming activities.”
Mr Marshall said there were still a number of border restrictions which are needlessly impacting people’s lives.
“This announcement shows by sitting down and working together, States can come up with policies that keep residents safe from COVID-19 while still allowing their economies to function,” he said.
“I am still concerned about restrictions that are preventing parents from visiting their children at boarding school and impeding NSW residents’ access to vital medical services north of the border.
“I will continue to raise these problems with the Queensland Government.”
All agribusinesses businesses are required to have a plan in place to prevent the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 amongst its workers and the community. Agribusinesses and essential workers needing to cross the border are also encouraged to have a worker-specific quarantine plan demonstrating how they will minimise interactions with the community during while working in Queensland.
All workers needing to leave or enter Queensland to perform essential agribusiness and farm activities are encouraged to carry a copy of the quarantine plan.
Those entering Queensland under the agribusiness exemption will NOT need to complete an electronic Queensland Border Declaration Pass, however upon arrival you may need to compete a written Queensland Boarder Declaration Pass.
For further information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Queensland border restrictions for agribusiness, food manufacturing and commercial fishing workers, visit https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/coronavirus-support/border-restrictions-agriculture.