NSW Nationals Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has announced a newly created exemption to allow farmers and agribusiness workers to move freely across the NSW-Queensland border under current COVID restrictions.
Mr Marshall hailed the exemption as a big win for industry and said it came after the NSW Nationals in the state government pushed to minimise the barriers imposed on the agricultural sector by the Queensland government’s recent hard border closure.
Agricultural workers from both states who meet specific requirements can now travel across the border anywhere in NSW and Queensland, by road or air.
“The free movement of agricultural workers across state borders is crucial for our food and fibre producers, security of food supply chains and our economy, especially during times of COVID,” Mr Marshall said.
“The class exemption is for movement associated with performing essential services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities, including the care of livestock.
“This will allow vital agricultural work to take place and ensure our farmers can keep operating without unreasonable delays and barriers, while still safeguarding public health priorities.
“The exemption is timely, especially given we’ve just started another large bull sale season in the north of the state, which typically attracts many buyers from Queensland.”
Mr Marshall said there were strict conditions under the exemption which workers must meet before crossing the border, including the need to provide evidence of their employment or contract, property ownership, lease or agistment arrangements.
Agricultural workers wanting to cross into Queensland will need to provide evidence they have already unsuccessfully attempted to source the skills from a non-hotspot in another state or territory, or that it is too costly or time prohibitive.
Those travelling or returning to NSW from Queensland will be required to complete an online declaration once every three days.
Visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for the latest advice.