How border crossing restrictions apply to livestock producers who live in Queensland but have cattle or sheep on properties in New South Wales has become a pressing issue once again following the weekend’s Statewide lockdown in NSW due to COVID.
Yesterday as Queensland producers sought to reapply for new border crossing permits following the latest NSW lockdown they found to their concern that agriculture was no longer listed in the restricted categories of essential workers listed among those permitted to cross the border on the Qld Govt border pass website.
However, the office of Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has confirmed to Beef Central today that agriculture is considered essential and people who need to cross the border to manage livestock or crops will be able to secure a permit.
The assurance also comes with a message that people are encouraged to travel across the border only as “absolutely necessary”.
People who need to apply for a pass can do so at the link above.
Agricultural class exemption needs to be proven by presenting:
- A Queensland border declaration pass;
- A copy of the chief health officer’s class exemption letter;
- evidence of identity that confirms place of residence (e.g., a driver’s licence);
- evidence of employment, contract, property ownership, lease or agistment arrangements;
- proof of attempt to source skills from a non-hotspot in another state or territory and that it has either been genuinely not possible or is cost- or time-prohibitive;
- Before travelling to Queensland, farmers and agribusiness workers must complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass — class exemption Z — online.
Further requirements are also listed on Queensland Health’s website.
According to the Queensland government, this exemption will remain valid until 11:59pm on August 20.
Minister Mark Furner said the Palaszczuk Government’s top priority is to keep Queenslanders safe during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our response to the pandemic continues to evolve to manage outbreaks and the challenges presented by new variants of COVID-19.
“Agriculture is a vital part of Queensland’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, and by keeping Queenslanders safe we ensure a strong agricultural sector can continue.
“There is an agricultural exemption in place that recognises the essential nature of the work of our primary producers and key staff.
“Industry stakeholders or anyone else within the agriculture industry needing assistance can contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries directly on 13 25 23.”