COVID-19 Recommended Practices for Forestry Industry Operations
The Tasmanian Forestry Industry has created this document outlining best practice safety, hygiene and mental health practices to assist forestry businesses to operate safely throughout COVID-19. Specific recommended practices are outlined for forestry, harvesting, log haulage and processing.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have established a COVID-19 Agriculture Support landing page. It includes information regarding:
If you have any forestry specific questions in relation to COVID-19 please send them to DAFCOVID19Enquiries@daf.qld.gov.au.
Workforce Availability (see here for current QLD Government restrictions impacting movement of workers)
COVID-19 may impact your ability to source workers. While there may still be numerous overseas workers available, significant disruption to seasonal worker numbers could occur in various regions. See the Queensland Government's workforce availability fact sheet and refer to Business Queensland's advice here on how to source workers if your normal channels don't work.
Supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Businesses across Queensland are being asked to use an online web form to identify their PPE supply needs as well as their manufacturing capability to re-purpose manufacturing lines to develop essential PPE health care supplies.
Workplace Health & Safety
DAF have established a webpage with information regarding managing WH&S concerns in agricultural workplaces, including advice and recommendations for proactively protecting your workforce.
You can access more specific information and fact sheets about managing COVID-19 WH&S concerns here.
Employing Seasonal Workers in Agribusiness during COVID-19
Updated 4 November 2020
Agriculture labour shortage
Labour availability remains a key focus for DAF (read full Agriculture Coordination Group update here) who are continuing to monitor labour market factors and to assist industry meet labour needs via the below approaches.
The #pickqld website is showing good search engine and social media performance, and the site is undergoing continuous development in response to industry feedback - e.g. inclusion of hostel and accommodation options for workers. The current #pickqld placement will continue until 31 December 2020, with a second burst of advertising activity planned for April - May 2021. The campaign has been positive overall, with displaced workers travelling to regional Queensland on the back of advertising.
Back to work in agriculture incentive scheme
A pilot incentive scheme to encourage Queenslanders to meet short-term agricultural labour shortage demands will initially be focused on the Wide Bay Burnett and Darling Downs regions is currently underway. The scheme provides $1500 incentives for eligible employees to assist with travel and remote relocation costs. Guidelines here.
Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP)
The Queensland Chief Health Officer has approved the release of guidelines to manage the quarantine and other arrangements for PLS and SWP workers. Queensland is conducting a four-week recruitment trial to monitor the effectiveness of quarantine options.
Updated 28 August 2020
Employers in the agribusiness and fisheries industry (including forestry) may hire seasonal workers needing to travel into and within Queensland to undertake work. A season worker is a person who travels to, or within, Queensland for work as it becomes available requiring them to relocate and stay in temporary accommodation. A season worker can be:
a person coming from overseas to travel and work temporarily in Australia (backpacker or visa holder);
an Australian resident seeking seasonal work locally or across country.
Seasonal workers who have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will not be permitted to enter Queensland. Read more about entry requirements for seasonal workers here.
The Chief Health Officer has issued a class exemption under the Border Restriction Declaration (No.12) for farmers and agribusiness workers needing to move between Queensland and New South Wales to perform essential agribusiness services or farming activities, such as tending to livestock or crops for one month, commencing 22 August 2020. This exemption does not apply to seasonal workers.
Your responsibilities as an employer of seasonal workers:
If you employ seasonal workers it is mandatory to have a workplace health management plan. This includes all agribusinesses, commercial fishing and processing businesses, and agriculture labour hire companies.
You must have a record of your employee's work history and accommodation details for the 14 days before commencing work with you (including quarantine compliance if relevant).
Accommodation, including communal areas, and transportation of seasonal workers, must account for social distancing requirements. Access full list of requirements here.
If you only employ local workers who are returning to their permanent residence after work each day, you still need to manage the risk of COVID-19 via your workplace health management plan.
Employers should access this flowchart that will help you understand the process to follow when employing workers in Queensland's agriculture or commercial fishing industries.
The Queensland Government has produced resources for communicating with multicultural communities during COVID-19. This link Information for multicultural communities – coronavirus (COVID-19) will take you to the relevant resources.