QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following:
- Mr Macfarlane opened the call and thanked members for joining. Mr Macfarlane advised that The Honourable Scott Stewart, Minister for Resources would be joining the call, along with the Department of Resources and Regional Mayors.
- The CHO remains optimistic that the current lockdown in the 11 LGA’s in SE Queensland may be able to be lifted at 4.00pm on Sunday 8/8/21.
- Member companies are encouraged to remind their workforce to obey all current restrictions that are in place if they are or have been in any of the 11 LGA’s since Friday 30th
- The resources industry must continue to set a good example in order to protect its workforce and the community it works in and to avoid any unfavourable media coverage.
- QRC has been advised that a determination from the CHO, not at the request of QRC, means FIFO and DIDO workers will be prioritised for vaccination, regardless of age. QRC is engaging with the State Government, Queensland Health and the Office of the Queensland Vaccine Operations Coordinator for further details about how this will work in practice. QRC remains of the view that regional communities should be vaccinated at the same time as the mining workforce.
- There are a number of issues associated with prioritising FIFO/DIDO worker vaccination including:
- Limited supply of Pfizer vaccines currently available;
- Company’s inability to require their workforce to receive the vaccination;
- Potential issues if a FIFO/DIDO worker refuses/fails to be vaccinated and subsequently tests positive to COVID-19.
- Potential by anti-resource groups to strongly object to resource workers being given vaccination priority.
- An eligibility checker (under Cohort) is available on the Queensland Government’s website –
- Members should develop a strategy to encourage their workforce to be vaccinated in accordance with the CHO’s determination.
- QRC is working with a third-party provider, VanGuard – who has State Government accreditation, to commence a pop-up vaccination centre close to Brisbane airport for swing shift resource workers. A similar centre has been established in Moranbah.
- Companies using third party providers other than VanGuard should be encouraging them to get accreditation to vaccinate FIFO workers
Q. Are DIDO’s included in the same category as FIFO’s?
Q. On Notice
Are workers who live in Mackay (for example) and travel to/from site on the same day, considered to be a DIDO?
A DIDO worker is defined as someone who travels to and is accommodated on a worksite. Return travel on the same day does not appear to be included in this category. QRC will clarify and revert.
- Mr Macfarlane provided a brief update on yesterday’s MCA’s COVID-19 member’s update:
- A National Vaccination Strategy is being prepared, overseen by an Australian Government taskforce, which includes both MCA and APPEA; https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/op-covid-shield-national-covid-vaccine-campaign-plan
- The taskforce is currently working through liabilities, logistics etc;
- Queensland Health will oversee the roll-out of the national vaccination program in Queensland;
- The taskforce’s objective is to have 80% of the population vaccinated by November 2021;
- Rapid testing has been deemed a useful tool but is not a recognised diagnostic tool and it is not approved as a diagnostic tool by the TGA. It does confirm the virus in symptomatic people but is not successful with asymptomatic carriers; and
- A reminder for low-level close contact instances; must isolate as soon as determined to be a close contact and are not permitted to leave that location for a two-week period. They must obtain an immediate COVID test and their close contacts must also isolate immediately and obtain a test.
- Mr Ross Eddington, DoR, advised that the Department of Health has received a substantial amount of essential worker applications from all industries which has delayed the approvals process. DoR officers are assisting in the processing of applications. Members are encouraged to email Mr Eddington to follow up on any delayed approvals they are waiting on: Eddington@resources.qld.gov.au
- Mr Eddington advised that NSW has imposed restrictions on workers who return to NSW from SE Queensland. The following link is provided which includes a table that is helpful for workers who are returning to the NSW border zone.
Mr Macfarlane welcomed Minister Stewart to today’s members’ update.
- Minister Stewart thanked members for their continued support in following all COVID-19 restrictions and protocols and asked that the great work be continued during this latest crisis and in going forward.
- The Minister confirmed the CHO’s consideration of including several new groups including teachers, transport workers and FIFO/DIDO’s in the vaccination priority list.
- Queensland has 16 new cases today, relating to the Indooroopilly cluster of the Delta virus.
- This brings the total number of active cases to 79.
- 52,300 tests were undertaken yesterday.
- The CHO is pleased with progress however there is no change to the current lock-down date of 8 August.
- Queensland is expecting a supply of approx. 112000 extra Pfizer vaccines to arrive in the next two weeks.
- A total of 11-crew from the Pan Europe LNG tanker have tested positive with another 15-crew receiving a negative result. It is believed that the situation may be managed on board rather than transferring affected crew to land for treatment. No Queensland pilots have boarded the vessel.
- Minister Stewart again reiterated the excellent work that has been carried out by the resources sector to date and to keep following the simple steps if any symptoms present. The Minister reminded callers that complacency is our enemy.
- On Notice
Isaac’s Deputy Mayor queried the rationale to include FIFO/DIDO workers as a priority group for vaccinations, but not the remaining mine-site workforce that FIFO/DIDO workers would be working beside.
Mr Macfarlane and Minister Stewart confirmed that the decision is not the result of an industry request and is at the discretion of the CHO. Should clarification behind the decision become available, this will be circulated by DoR/QRC.