New measures introduced to access seasonal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Economic Development Officer - Business South Burnett

Coming into effect from 12:01am Tuesday 5 May 2020, the Queensland Government has introduced new measures to help agribusiness and commercial fisheries access seasonal workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes ensure seasonal work can continue so Queensland’s food supplies are secure while meeting COVID-19 public health directions.  The Government’s priority is to prevent the introduction, minimise the spread, and manage local outbreaks of COVID-19 in Queensland.  The new framework does this by introducing measures for the workplace, accommodation and transport.

The framework consists of five key elements:

  1. Stronger border protections– all seasonal workers entering Queensland who have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to commencing work at an agribusiness or commercial fishing operation.
  2. Mandatory health plans– an agribusiness, commercial fisher or labour hire company employing seasonal workers, accommodation facilities that house seasonal workers, and private workforce transport providers that offer services to these businesses, must have a health management plan.
  3. General health obligation– all businesses wishing to employ seasonal workers, and employees travelling to Queensland for work, have a general health obligation to help keep Queensland as safe as possible by following Queensland’s health directives for COVID-19.
  4. Stronger compliance– we are seeking to boost our compliance capacity by authorising additional officers from regulatory agencies under the Public Health Act 2005.
  5. Locally led solutions– we are working with Local Disaster Management Groups to develop local solutions to address accommodation, transport and workforce supply issues. Additional support is provided through the District Disaster Management Groups and the State Disaster Coordination Group.

From 5 May 2020, businesses who employ seasonal workers must have a health management plan and be operating in accordance to this plan. This includes agribusinesses, commercial fisheries, and labour hire firms.  Health management plans are also required for:

  • private or charter transportation providers who provide services to businesses who employ or house seasonal workers
  • accommodation facilities that house seasonal workers

We all have a general obligation to help keep ourselves, neighbours and the community as safe as possible from coronavirus (COVID-19).  If you wish to employ seasonal workers, you must follow Queensland’s public health directions for COVID-19.  Promote the latest advice from Queensland Health to your neighbours, employees and contractors to help prevent the virus spreading.

A health management plan demonstrates your operation’s compliance with COVID-19 Queensland Public Health Directions and outlines ways your business is minimising risks of COVID-19 transmission.   Template for a Health Management Plan is here:

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0039/959907/health-management-plan-template-accommodation-transport.docx

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries support page for those employing seasonal workers can be found here:

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/coronavirus-support/seasonal-workers-covid19

Full Directive for Seasonal Workers can be found here:

https://www.health.qld.gov.au/system-governance/legislation/cho-public-health-directions-under-expanded-public-health-act-powers/seasonal-workers

 

Kristy Board

Economic Development Officer - Business South Burnett

Vision Statement
A region rich in collaborative and sophisticated businesses, fostering innovation for a prosperous South Burnett.
People in Business, People Working together, People making it better.

Mission Statement
Business South Burnett is the Business Growth component of the Economic Development branch of Council.
Our Mission is to foster collaboration within the South Burnett Business community, stimulate the further development and capacity of South
Burnett Businesses and engage and collaborate with South Burnett Business Development Groups.

Objectives
• Expose business to opportunities for learning
• Create programs supporting business development
• Deliver new information relevant to business
• Collaboration with Regional and Town based Business Development Groups
• Sharing of positive South Burnett businesses stories to increase business confidence and promote the region
• Celebrate high achieving businesses
• Provide pathways for market readiness
• Support South Burnett Directions defined projects and advocacy initiatives

Business South Burnett

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