Ian Macfarlane and representatives from DoR provided an update to the QRC Covid-19 Working Group as follows (actions in bold): There are no significant changes to report this week. As expected, positive case numbers are continuing to rise across the State. A total of 238 and 274 positive cases from PCR tests have been reported in Rockhampton and Mackay PHUs respectively today. Reported numbers may be understated as RAT’s test results are contained in a full state database and not included in these numbers. There is no indication of when more Rapid Antigen tests will be available as yet. Members attention was drawn to the recent negative news article by CFMEU regarding the Resources industry’s management of the current crisis. QRC has released a statement in response and has subsequently had a discussion with CFMEU Steve Smyth to discuss further. It was noted that the PHUs have been very complimentary regarding the industry’s handling of the crisis to date. DoR also congratulated members on the management of the crisis under difficult and testing circumstances. A review of the procedure to remove resource workers who test positive whilst on site is currently being undertaken by DoR and QH and will be distributed once it is finalised.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): Guidelines are still being established by DoR in consultation with QH and will be distributed to members as soon as QRC receives a copy. The guidelines will have a holistic focus to include all business and supply chains for critical industries, including Ports. The guidelines will also include responsibilities relating to contact tracing. Members were advised that in relation to the question on mess facilities, the Public Health and Social Measures linked to vaccination status Direction | Queensland Health has been published on the Queensland Health Government website, and comes into effect from 1am Friday 17 December 2021.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): There is a low vaccination rate in regional Queensland, partly due to vaccine hesitancy. This exposes risk to those communities when borders open in December. It is acknowledged that companies are doing all they can to encourage workers to get vaccinated. Resource industry vaccines have been mandated in NT, WA & Victoria. There is, reportedly, no appetite at all from the Qld Government for a similar mandatory vaccine requirement, which may be due to opposition from the unions.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): The Queensland Government now requires all workers that will travel across the border to have at least a first dose of vaccination. It will be difficult to get essential workers out of NSW in any circumstances. A quarantine management plan will, ideally, be in place as part of the application for specialist worker exemptions. QH will view the application more favourably if they have received at least one vaccination. Only small numbers are expected to be approved. Work towards establishing the vaccination hub at Brisbane Airport, at the Pullman, is progressing. No feedback has been received from third-party providers, except Vanguard. Vanguard appear to be more advanced than other providers and have inspected the facilities.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): The QRC is exploring the possibility of a COVID vaccine facility at Brisbane Airport to be located at the Pullman Hotel. A trial of the vaccination of FIFO/DIDO workers returning to Brisbane after their shift in regional Qld may be available as soon as next week. The QRC will advise members as details become available. Please advise the QRC with an estimate of how many individual staff members may require vaccinations at this facility per week. Please direct your advice to Kylie Barron: firstname.lastname@example.org. QRC has already been in touch with three 3rd party medical providers accredited to administer the Pfizer vaccine. If you are aware of an alternative 3rd party provider you wish to use who can safely prepare and administer the vaccine, then please advise the QRC.
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.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): The CHO has announced a further one-week extension of the requirements to wear a face mask if you are in the identified SE Qld LGAs or have been in those LGAs in the last 14 days. Persons who have visited those SEQ LGAs must wear a mask as per SE Qld until next Friday 6th August unless they have been outside the LGAs for more than 14days There has been some confusion about Border arrangements. For gas field workers travelling between operations in the NE South Australia and SW corner of Qld, exemptions are in place but workers are required to be tested within 7 days of arrival in Qld and every 7 days. For FIFOs in the NSW ‘bubble zone’, identified in the map the QRC distributed on Saturday, workers in that area can travel anywhere in Queensland for work-related purposes. They must apply for an entry pass into Queensland. It is preferable for resource companies, not contractor companies, to apply for specialist/essential worker exemptions when bringing workers into Queensland from hot spots.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): • There are no changes to the rules, as relating to mine sites, that have been in place for the past few months. • Mine site workers can still be assessed as critical workers if they cannot work from home nor have their work done by another person. o A question was asked about interstate travellers and Essential Workers clarified that if an essential worker has been tested and indicated a negative result, and has travelled interstate, then they will be able to return to work. • In relation to inter-state travels, there is a specialist worker exemption being managed by the Department of Health. If workers must be brought from NSW, for example, then a specialist travel permit will be required.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following (actions in bold): A lockdown applies in the Greater Brisbane Area (Brisbane, Logan, Redlands, Moreton Bay region) from 5pm tonight, for 3 days (presently scheduled to lift Thursday night but subject to review). CHO is viewing this situation very seriously. QRC asks that travel be minimised to essential travel only over the 3 day lock down period. Companies to advise QRC via email@example.com of the number of workers who must travel over the next 3 days.
QRC COVID-19 Working Group spoke about the following: With the removal of Sydney restrictions, an increase in air traffic is anticipated. The only significant restriction still in place is WA (2-week quarantine period for anyone travelling there from Qld). In relation to work camps, the QRC has stated its opposition to their use as quarantine