24 September 2020 | QRC COVID-19 Working Group meeting

QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold):

  • Judy Bertram, Deputy Chief Executive, QRC conducted this call, in place of Ian Macfarlane.
  • In Queensland: 1,153 cases of COVID reported, 5 active cases. no new cases recorded in the past 24 hours. More than1 million tests undertaken. 6 deaths recorded. Last community transmission was 10 September. Overall, Qld is in a good position.
  • Central Qld Health’s current testing turnaround is 13.1 hours.
  • In relation to the borders, there have been changes in recent days. Border Directive #14 will be fully effective from 3pm 28 September. This will open Qld borders to 5 local government areas in NSW from 1 October.
  • From 1am Friday 25 September, the border with ACT will be opened, but Border Declaration forms will still need to be completed.
  • Regarding the specialist worker exemptions: the definition remains unchanged.
    • In relation to the APPEA survey last week, this identified some confusion especially relating to the specialist worker exemption process. This showed that a number of companies are reluctant to apply for the exemption, feeling they will likely be rejected. Companies should apply for exemptions for essential workers, including for non-statutory roles, if required.
    • DNRME will consider these applications if there is a compelling safety or production critical case.
    • These applications must come from the company, and not the worker or the contractor.
  • To date specialist exemptions have been approved in respect of 25 workers, 18 applications are still in progress, and 2 are currently being considered by the CHO.
  • If there are emergent situations, the Department will work with companies to resolve issues.
  • There are also upcoming changes to quarantine procedures. Workers may be able to quarantine for 14 days on site or in government nominated accommodation, but in all cases Quarantine Management Plans are required.At 12:45, local council representatives and Shaun Ferris, DNRME, and Angus Mitchell MSQ, joined the call.
  • Shaun Ferris, DNRME provided an overview of recent changes.
    • DNRME reports prioritisation of applications for specialist worker exemptions in the resources sector.
    • An essential criterion is whether those workers can be sourced within
    • In the spirit of facilitating these applications, DNRME will ask the key questions, and will coordinate and communicate as appropriate.
  • In relation to quarantine, DNRME will send out an update later today to provide clarity.
    • DNRME advises that there is the possibility of non-hotel quarantine.
    • If there is a sound management plan, alternatives to non-hotel quarantine will be considered, e.g. at a company’s accommodation with a series of other controls around this, including a quarantine management plan.
  • Question: is it possible to make an application once someone has already started their quarantine? Answer: this will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • DNRME advises that workers coming as ‘new residents will need to have Border Declarations in place, and will need to have proof of new residency.
  • QRC reports questions surrounding companies where interstate workers have moved to Queensland when borders were closing to secure their jobs, and it has been a number of months since they have seen their families, what arrangements might be in place to allow those people to re-enter Queensland if they visit family elsewhere. DNRME indicated that advice will be provided on this later today.

Next meeting

  • Thursday 1 October 2020 at 12.30pm