Travel restrictions

Latest updates on the travel restrictions implemented by Government including industry impact, and guidance for compliance with regulations.

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Border restrictions – Frequently asked questions

Information to help you understand what the closure of the Queensland border means to travellers and residents and the latest Border Restrictions Direction can be found here.

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.

The Department has developed a guideline and online form for specialist workers to apply for a specialist worker exemption for employees travelling from declared COVID-19 hotspots.

Applications will only be accepted from companies.

If you have workers you consider to be critical specialist workers, you need to complete an online application form, and provide supporting documentation (within the spreadsheet provided online).

It is critical that all criteria identified in the Guidelines is addressed in order to progress your application.  Applications that do not contain the required information will be rejected.

This information will form part of the assessment and inform the Chief Health Officer decision.

Previous exemptions are no longer valid.

Visit the website to access the forms.

Border Declaration Pass

After receiving an exemption, a Queensland Border Declaration Pass will also be required to be completed.  (You are unable to apply for a Border Declaration Pass, until you have been granted specialist worker exemption).

These restrictions will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our workers and communities safe.

Is interstate FIFO/DIDO restricted?

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.

The Department has developed a guideline and online form for critical resource sector employees to apply for a specialist worker exemption for employees travelling from declared COVID-19 hotspots.

Applications will only be accepted from companies.

If you have workers you consider to be critical specialist workers, you need to complete an online application form, and provide supporting documentation (within the spreadsheet provided online).

It is critical that all criteria identified in the Guidelines is addressed in order to progress your application.  Applications that do not contain the required information will be rejected.

This information will form part of the assessment and inform the Chief Health Officer decision.Previous exemptions are no longer valid.

Which interstate FIFO/DIDO workers are allowed to travel to Queensland?

As per the Border Restriction Direction issued by the Chief Health Officer, critical resources sector employee means a person that:

a) is required to be appointed under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999; the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999; or the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004 and the position is mentioned in the list published on the Queensland Health website; or

b) has been approved by the Chief Health Officer as a critical resources sector employee.
The guidelines are available on the website which outlines the process for confirming a worker as exempt.

What about FIFO/DIDO within Queensland?

Queensland-based resource workers are not restricted to critical resource sector employees. FIFO/DIDO workers who live and work in Queensland can continue to work in any roles in Queensland. Additional restrictions about overseas travel or hotspots continue to apply to interstate and Qld workers.

What happens if a worker arrives without the exemption approval due to a delay in the application process?

DNRME advise that there are criminal offence provisions that relate to unauthorised travel so no one should leave their home location until they have their approval. The failure to manage this will also be taken into account in all future exemption applications made by a company.

Should operators apply for exemptions for contractors who are doing work for them? 

Yes. These applications must come from the company, and not the worker or the contractor.

DNRME will consider these applications if there is a compelling safety or production critical case.

Flight updates

Commercial

Following the assistance package announced by the Federal Government, Qantas and Virgin have resumed and/or increased flights in and out of Brisbane and on regional Queensland routes. Attached is updated information relating to flights available. Further detailed information will be available on Qantas and Virgin websites as the timetables are finalised.

Qantas urges members to continue to monitor qantas.com.au for updates regarding schedules and capacity developments which are occurring on a daily basis.

If QRC members need any further advice they can refer to their Qantas Account Manager, latest schedules and advice on qantas.com.au or Elsa Dalessio, Qantas State Manager via email on edalessio@qantas.com.au.

Qantas ‘Fly Well’ program

Qantas and Jetstar will roll out a series of wellbeing improvements to give peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing.

The ‘Fly Well’ program brings together a number of temporary measures already in use by the Qantas Group, including on repatriation flights from virus hot-spots, and represents a combination of best-practice medical advice and feedback from customers.

Rolling out from 12 June, the key measures at each point of the journey will be:

Pre-flight

  • Information sent to all customers before they fly, so they know what to expect.
  • Contactless check-in (via online/app) and self-serve bag drop strongly encouraged, including use of Q Bag Tags.
  • Hand sanitising stations at departure gates.
  • Temporary changes to Qantas Lounges, including increased physical distancing, hand sanitising stations, enhanced disinfection of surfaces and adjustments to food and drink service.
  • Working with airports on other safeguards in the terminal, including regular disinfection of security screening points and installing hygiene screens at airline customer service desks, wherever practical.

On board

  • Masks provided to all passengers on each flight – while not mandatory from a safety point of view, they are recommended to be worn in the interests of everyone’s peace-of-mind.
  • Enhanced cleaning of aircraft with a disinfectant effective against Coronaviruses, with a focus on high contact areas – seats, seatbelts, overhead lockers, air vents and toilets.
  • Sanitising wipes given to all passengers to wipe down seat belts, trays and armrests themselves, if preferred.
  • Simplified service and catering to minimise touchpoints for crew and passengers.
  • Passengers asked to limit movement around cabin, once seated.
  • Sequenced boarding and disembarkation to minimise crowding.

For more information, click here.

Chartered

Members are increasingly using chartered flights in an effort to maintain social distancing practices and minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Please contact QRC if there is additional capacity on company organised chartered flights. QRC can offer a match making service for members with capacity on chartered flights with companies needing access to chartered flights.

Companies operating charter flights for FIFO workers into regional areas have begun advising Queensland Health and other essential agencies of opportunities to travel on charter flights where there are spare seats. Spare seats are also being offered to members of regional communities in urgent need of air travel for health or family reasons.

While maintaining social distancing on board aircraft, companies are encouraged to consider offering spare seats, on a priority basis, to local essential service workers and people in need of urgent travel.

Movement of medical and pathology samples has also been significantly impacted by cuts to regional commercial air services. Resource companies are encouraged to offer local hospitals, medical centres and pathology collection centres in regional towns and cities the opportunity to have samples and urgent packages transported on FIFO charter flights.

Travel screening

Screening arrangements for COVID-19 and equipment are changing and evolving. Individual responsibility – monitoring health (including temperature and potential symptoms of themselves and those they live with), social distancing and self-isolation in the event of contact sources of infection – is the starting point for all Australians, including resource workers. Companies need to work to support individuals in exercising this responsibility.

Health declaration

Prior to attending site, resource workers should be required to declare that they have been fit and well for the last seven days; that they have not undertaken any high-risk activities (such as overseas travel or contact with infected persons), and they should undertake to notify the company if they become unwell or anyone that they live with becomes unwell.

An example of the health and travel questions employers could ask their employees:

  • Have you travelled overseas in the last 14 days?
  • Have you been:
  1. a) In close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days? or
  2. b) Been in close contact with anyone suspected of having COVID-19 within the last 14 days? (CDNA Close Contact definition page 12-13)
  • Have you or any family member in your household been unwell or experienced COVID-19 related symptoms such as fever (see guidance on temperature testing below), cough, sore throat, fatigue in the last 14 days?

Additional questions companies may ask: Do you use a CPAP machine? Is someone you live with at high risk to respiratory infections? Are you recovering from an illness that may make you vulnerable to COVID-19?

The Qld Health clinical screening guideline can be downloaded here.

Temperature checking

If appropriate equipment is available (IR thermometer or digital oral thermometer), the temperature of each person attending site prior to departure (if FIFO via charter) or at the start of a shift can be taken.

WHO guidelines advise that a person with a temperature of 37.3oC may have a low-grade fever and should not attend the workplace.  Qld Health guidelines suggest that a person who has a temperature above 38.0⁰C is likely to have a fever and should follow most up to date government guidelines on symptoms of COVID-19. Many companies are implementing the more precautionary temperature threshold.

An example temperature testing protocol developed by SACOME can be found here. and an example temperature testing workflow can be found here.

An example pre-flight passenger health assessment can be downloaded here and an example screening log can be found here.