In collaboration with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) and the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), QRC seeks your feedback through a survey on the Queensland Specialist Worker Exemption process. This will assist the Queensland Government make any necessary improvements to ensure movement of workers essential to the resources sector. Click here to complete the survey
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Discussed: No new cases in CQ for 3 months, COVID test turnaround times, specialist worker exemptions and survey for members, ship crew protocols, QRC temperature testing facilities, QRC's pre-election media campaign, SSRC Act, DNRME working with Qld Health to streamline exemption application processes
As you would be aware, the Chief Health Officer (CHO) has declared Greater Brisbane, Ipswich and West Moreton a restricted area. She emphasised today that there are no restrictions to travel to or from these areas, but people in these areas should carry face masks and use in confined areas, eg. shops. There are also restrictions now in place in terms of the size of gatherings in public places and in homes in these areas. Members sourcing FIFO workers from these regions should ask their workers to be extra vigilant in regards to social distancing, hand cleaning and sanitising, and wearing a face mask as per the CHO’s directions.
Discussed: Speculation around further border closures, specialist exemptions, BAC airport testing facility, QRC meeting with the Premier, DNRME update on Directive #11
From 1am on Saturday 8 August, Border Restrictions Direction (No. 11) (the direction) comes into force and places tighter controls on people moving into Queensland from declared COVID-19 hotspots (Victoria, NSW and ACT). Under the direction, the Queensland border is closed to anyone who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days except in limited exceptions. Process for applying for a limited exemption under Border Restrictions Direction (No. 11) It is important to the safety of the Queensland community that exemptions are only applied for if the position is critical and cannot be done by someone already in Queensland.
Please find below the latest information on COVID-19 from DNRME, and how it relates to the resources sector. Border restrictions Further restrictions on Queensland’s borders have been announced. From 1am this Saturday (8 August, 2020) New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will be declared hot spots. This change means that Queensland’s borders will be closed to any visitors coming from New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory–in addition to all of Victoria. Any Queensland resident who wants to cross the border after this time will need to pay for 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine. Exemptions Specialist worker Under the updated Border Restrictions Direction (No. 11) resources sector employees will fall under the category of Specialist Worker and require an exemption, applied for and issued by the Chief Health Officer. The category of specialist workers has been expanded to include limited opportunities for the resources and other sectors to apply for exemptions for critical workers. The process for applying for an exemption will be provided ASAP. It is important to the safety of the Queensland community that exemptions are only granted in very limited circumstances and will be approved by the Chief Health Officer. An assessment process, including relevant application forms and guidance material is currently under development and will be made available as a priority. Further information about the Queensland border restrictions, including questions and answers, can be found on the Queensland Health website.
Following our member call yesterday, QRC has been engaged in further discussions with Minister Lynham’s office and DNRME on the Border Restriction Direction for the NSW/ACT border close from 1am, Saturday 8 August. Thank-you to members for their input for QRC’s representations to the Government. Overnight (1:45am today) the Chief Health Officer released the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 11). In summary, the Chief Health Officer Direction reinstates the designation of “critical resource sector employee” under the definition of “specialist worker”. A “specialist worker” (Section 5(4) of Schedule 1 of the Direction) is determined to be a person entering Queensland for an “essential activity” and must only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to carry out the activity.
Discussed: Qld Border closure to ACT and NSW as of 1am Saturday 8 August, and a range of scenarios and questions around what these border closures will mean, update on BAC issue, Simon Zanatta from Minister Lynham's office acknowledged the importance of the sector, DNRME update around potential exemptions for specialist workers.
Scenarios regarding travel after testing for COVID-19 where the person displays no symptoms: 1. If a person at a mine believes they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID prior to arrival at the mine, has no symptoms and has not been contacted by Qld Health and has a test done, can they return home (to Brisbane for example) for the period of isolation while awaiting the outcome of the test? If they believe they have been in close contact they are recommended to proactively contact 13HEALTH to instigate appropriate follow up and be tested. If they are confirmed as a close contact of a confirmed case they will be issued with a direction to quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who has been tested for Covid-19 should isolate until the test results are known. This is particularly critical if the person believes that have been in contact with a confirmed case. People should not travel when subject to quarantine or isolation requirement unless the local Public Health Physician gives permission to travel via private transportation. 2. If a person at a mine believes they have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID prior to arrival at the mine, has no symptoms and has not been contacted by Qld Health and has a test done, isolates at the mine camp, and the test comes back negative, can they return home for the remaining period of isolation? If they believe they have been in close contact they are recommended to proactively contact 13HEALTH to instigate appropriate follow up and be tested. If they are a confirmed close contact they will most likely not be permitted to travel/ return to Brisbane, unless the local Public Health Physician gives permission to travel via private transportation. 3. If a person is advised by Qld Health that they must have a test due to close contact with a COVID case, has no symptoms and has a test, can they return to their home (to Brisbane for example) to self-isolate until the test results arrive? They will be issued with a quarantine direction by the public health unit, this will state the quarantine address. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. They will most likely not be permitted to travel/ return to Brisbane, unless the local Public Health Physician gives permission to travel via private transportation.
Queensland Health have issued an updated Border Restrictions Direction (No. 10) overnight that has some important clarifications. In summary, the new Direction: Allows new residents to enter Queensland from a hotspot provided they complete quarantine at their own expense. Previously, new residents required an individual CHO exemption to enter Queensland from a hotspot. Allows any person permitted to enter Queensland who has completed government mandated quarantine in a hotspot to enter Queensland without repeating quarantine provided they can meet a number of evidentiary requirements. Currently, only returning Queensland residents can enter Queensland without quarantining if they have already completed government mandated quarantine in a hotspot. Provides that a person remanded in custody, subject to an extradition order or otherwise in the custody of a state or commonwealth law enforcement agency who is required to be in Qld is not required to complete a Border Declaration Pass. Clarifies that a person can travel directly from a non-COVID-19 hotspot to an airport to fly to Queensland without quarantining on arrival. For example, a FIFO worker living in an LGA in NSW that is not declared as a hotspot can travel directly to Sydney airport to fly to Queensland for work.