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ALEC I COVID-19 What you need to know

Updates relevant to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) are available below. As the situation evolves ALEC will update the information on this page and this information is current as of 15 January 2021.

As the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, we are focused on managing and minimising the impact that government actions and responses will have on the continuity and operation of the industry. Red Meat Advisory Councils (RMAC) Sunday Roundup April 2020 here Meat & Livestock Australia industry advice here

 The following government websites have the latest official advice to the general community:

  • Domestic travel restrictions

    Since last week, most states have announced increased travel restrictions on people departing from Queensland, in addition to existing restrictions and quarantine requirements on people travelling from NSW already in place.  Whilst state and territory leaders continue to shift travel advice and border restrictions as circumstances change, all border control processes continue to have regard to the National Ag Code and National Freight Code acknowledging the primary importance of freedom of movement for commercial goods and essential activities involved in agriculture and food production. Please get in touch if you are experiencing or observing operational difficulties as a result of COVID border controls.

    • VIC - Victoria is establishing a permit system for all domestic travel into Victoria. In place since 5:59pm on 11 January, everyone will need to apply for a permit to enter Victoria from anywhere in Australia. The permit system is based on a traffic light system which allows for areas across Australia to be designated as green, orange or red according to their risk. The permit system is for both travellers to Victoria and residents of Victoria returning home from interstate travel. Find out more here.
    • NSW – There are no restrictions around travelling to or from regional or rural NSW, or other areas of NSW. However, NSW Health currently recommends delaying non-essential travel within NSW, especially between Greater Sydney and regional and rural areas. You can transit through NSW to another location. However, any restrictions in place from other states will apply. The NSW Government website has a list of links to other states’ web pages with information on restrictions that apply to travellers from NSW.
    • SA – As has been the case for some time, everyone travelling to South Australia are required to complete a Cross Border Travel Registration. Access the Cross-Border Travel Registration via the SAPOL website.
    • TAS – Travellers to Tasmania, including returning residents, need to provide their contact and travel details before entering the state, to help manage the risk of COVID-19 at Tasmania’s borders.
    • Tasmania’s border entry conditions depend on where each traveller has spent time prior to their day of arrival. Areas are assessed as either lowmedium or high-risk based on Public Health advice. Register through the Tas e-Travel system if you have only spent time in low-risk areas in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania.
    • QLD – Most people can travel freely to Queensland unless they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot or in any part of New South Wales. Read more about the detail of QLD travel restrictions.
    • WA - Interstate travellers are now permitted to enter WA, subject to meeting strict conditions. More information is available at COVID-19 coronavirus: Controlled interstate border.

     

  • Vic/NSW border

    Late last week, the Victorian Government issued a new Direction called the New South Wales Border Crossing Permit Scheme Directions (No 8).  The new Direction provides further clarity on the following in relation to agricultural workers:

    • Victorian residents can apply for the agricultural worker border permit and return to their ordinary residence in Victoria when not working.
    • Permit holders while in Victoria (including Victorian residents) are required to have frequent testing. The first test should be done between entry into Victoria and day 7. The second test should be done between days 8 and 14. Permit holders should carry with them evidence of their test. Workers are able to undertake their work whilst awaiting a test result, but self-quarantine when not performing duty. 

     

  • Those who obtain a border permit will be required to:

    • Only remain in Victoria for the period necessary and minimise contact with other people in Victoria
    • Self-quarantine when not working and only leave accommodation for takeaway food or drink, bathroom stops, medical care, to obtain a coronavirus test or in an emergency
    • Wear a face mask in all public places
    • Get regularly tested for COVID-19 whilst in Victoria.   

     

  • As per the National Agricultural Workers Code, you are required to travel with each of the following to produce to border officials:

    • A valid border permit
    • Evidence of identity and confirmed place of residence
    • Evidence such as a letter of employment, business contract, evidence of property ownership or lease, evidence of agistment arrangements, and 
    • A business COVID safety plan.  

    The new Direction also made changes to commercial freight workers entering Victoria under a border permit and they are no longer required to self-quarantine while in Victoria. The online exemptions portal is open – it is accessed in the same way as starting a permit application. Visit http://service.vic.gov.au/services/border-permit/home. Agricultural stakeholders seeking further information can contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.

    COVID Mask requirements  

    Following a meeting of National Cabinet last week, it has been announced that the wearing of masks will be made mandatory on all domestic flights and in all domestic airports within Australia for all travellers over the age of 12.

    Free OHS advice for businesses

    WorkSafe Victoria has been promoting its ‘OHS Essentials’ program which is a free workplace safety consultation service, delivered by independent occupational health and safety (OHS) experts. The service is a great way to receive free, independent and personalised advice to manage safety at your workplace.  This service could be a way to get free expert advice on best practice management of COVID and other health and safety risks in your business. Many berry growers in Victoria have used the service and spoken very highly of it. Find out more here.  It has been reported that equivalent programs exist in NSW and QLD, contact the workplace health and safety authority to find out more. 

Department of Health I Australian Border Force I  Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

In recognising the very real possibility that further measures and interpretations may be made both domestically and internationally, we (ALEC, LiveCorp, and MLA) have initiated the Strategic Response Group (SRG) in line with newly developed Industry Response Plan.

The SRG has been meeting regularly and will continue to meet. The strategic objectives and a summary of the main actions agreed by the SRG are as follows:

Facilitate the continuation of the trade and to be deemed as an essential service.

ALEC, LiveCorp and the LEP have taken on actions related to their respective roles in advocacy, problem-solving and in-market intelligence and support.

Specific items related to immediate issues such as stock person accreditation to avoid shortages, waiving of fees and charges, and the impact of state port authority positions.

Advice to stock persons

Nearly all overseas ports that we export to have closed their borders to foreign vessel crew, stock people and AAVs. Stock people and AAVs should assume they will not be allowed to disembark and should make arrangements to return home on the vessel. We are not aware of any country that will not allow the unloading of a livestock vessel.

Shipboard stock persons and vets are considered part of the maritime industry for the purposes of COVID-19 travel restrictions. The latest advice on self-isolation for crews coming into Australia can be found here.

The industry will continue to meet animal welfare and community expectations. 

Government support and economic response 

Assistance for severely affected regions and sectors economic response here

More information on the governments' economic response here

Resources

  • COVID-19 Business helpline13 28 46 is operating 7 days per week 7.00am - 11.00pm AEST
  • Federal Government advice here
  • Safe Work Australia advice on managing COVID-19 risks here
  • Fair Work Australia employer obligations to staff here
  • Information on school arrangements here
  • National Farmers’ Federation updates here
  • NFF Farm Hub COVID-19 here
  • Online vet consultations phoneavet.com.au
  • Australian Meat Industry Council Social distancing factsheet
  • Food Standards Australian NZ Food safety fact sheet
  • Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) updates and advice for Red Meat and Livestock industry fact sheet
  • RMAC border updates living document here
  • LiveCorp accredited stock persons training information here
  • LiveCorp website updates COVID-19 here

Technology Update managing the updates COVID-19

  • How to use the government's coronavirus app and WhatsApp account here

Need help regarding an issue with live export?

Please contact 

Mark Harvey-Sutton

Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) CEO 

M 0400 980 452 ceo@livexcouncil.com.au