Interstate Border Closures: How it Affects Your Employees
As of midnight, on Friday 3rd April 2020 the border to Queensland was closed. This decision follows similar moves by South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. This means that anyone travelling from another state has to undertake a 14-day period of self-quarantine upon arrival.
The Queensland border closure does include fly in fly out(FIFO) workers, but with two exemptions:
- If your FIFO work is critical to a projects operation such as being responsible for Health and Safety, or
- If your FIFO or drive in drive out (DIDO) worker is already travelling within Queensland.
Employers of large amounts of FIFO/DIDO workers have been advised to increase the length of the shifts to minimise the number of days travelling to and from work.
Claymore Thistle spoke with one DIDO worker who has had his shift changed from a five on, two off rotation to a ten on four off, but they said they had no intention of leaving the area on their off days as they didn’t want to risk getting stuck off-site and not being able to get to work when their shift recommenced.
Other employers have chosen to relocate workers before the restrictions came into effect.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Queensland had no known cases in remote regional communities, and restricting these workers from entering the state will remove a possible transmission route.
Mining has been classed as an essential activity as it is a key part of the Australian economy and therefore there has been no decrease in the work going on around Australia and in Queensland concerning active mine sites and it is hoped that the border closures will reduce the risk to those rural populations.
Currently there is no national framework in place, although this is expected soon. This means that each State can manage its workers how they see fit, and each employer for each industry can also have their own rules.
South Australia has advised people who work on critical infrastructure, agriculture, or mining and resources are exempt to the current travel restrictions.
The Northern Territory is working on a case-by-case basis and authorities aim to minimise contact with remote and isolated communities.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, “As at 6:00am on 7 April 2020, there have been 5,844 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. There have been 100 new cases since 6:00am yesterday“.
The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “a welcome downward trend in new coronavirus cases was continuing, while testing for community transmissions will be expanded’. No relaxation of any of the current measures in place was mentioned. The advice is still to stay within your suburb.
Up to date advice
Claymore Thistle is monitoring the Government websites for each state. If you have any questions about relocating or housing your employees at this time, or if you need assistance with your employees 14 day isolation period then please do not hesitate to contact us on +61 (0)7 3303 0393.