The Queensland Government has developed a blueprint to ensure seasonal agricultural work can continue during the upcoming picking period, without an increased risk of community transmission.
With around 10,000 workers a month required on farms—and many coming from outside the region—workers are required to gain a permit and adhere to social distancing practices.
Any seasonal worker coming to Queensland will need a border pass and details of:
- where they had been for the previous two weeks
- written confirmation of a job in Queensland
- and where they planned to reside.
If they have come from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, they must also self-quarantine for 14 days at their own or employer's expense before starting any work.
The government will promote the importance of complying with health obligations and insist on mandatory health management plans
Wide Bay Burnett, Cairns and Moreton Bay North will have the highest demand for harvest workers, followed by Darling Downs-Maranoa and Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday.
Everyone involved in the agricultural employment and supply chain—workers, transporters, accommodation providers, employers, labour hire companies and local communities—is responsible for ensuring proper arrangements.
Under the new health directives, agricultural seasonal worker employers, transporters and accommodation providers must have a health management plan in place. Employers must comply with stringent record keeping on the health status of their workforce and it is best if the industry plans ahead for how the needs of livestock, pets or wildlife will be met if restrictions impact on their normal care arrangements or their carers become sick.
If you operate an agribusiness and are not required to submit a health management plan through the health directives, you still have a duty to manage the risk of COVID-19 within your workplace.
People providing essential services for agriculture and aquaculture business purposes must apply for a remote communities pass and a generic biosecurity plan to enter remote communities in Queensland. Visit: www.business.qld.gov.au/
Remind backpackers and seasonal workers looking for harvest work that they should not just show up to your farm. They can register their availability at Harvest Trail jobsearch.gov.au/harvest.
More information on seasonal work is at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/.