Queensland seasonal worker requirements ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
      
Avocados Australia COVID-19 update
Industry Notice
 
 

Queensland Government's new seasonal worker requirements

The Queensland Health Directives in relation to the new framework for seasonal workers seeking employment in agribusiness and commercial fishing has now been published (click here for the full directive), and they cover the workplace, accommodation centres and transport services.

The new requirements were effective from 12:01 am on Tuesday 5 May 2020.

The Queensland Government has introduced a new framework to enable agriculture to access a seasonal workforce, while still meeting their COVID-19 public health obligations. 

You can watch a briefing from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) by clicking here. (If you do not have Microsoft Teams downloaded and you don't want to install it, click "watch on the web instead" and then "join anonymously" to view in your browser.)

The government’s priority is to prevent the introduction, minimise the spread, and manage local outbreaks of COVID-19 in Queensland. The framework consists of five key elements:

  1. Stronger border protections – all seasonal workers entering Queensland who have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to commencing work at an agribusiness or commercial fishing operation
  2. Mandatory health plans – an agribusiness or labour hire company employing seasonal workers, accommodation facilities that house seasonal workers, and private workforce transport providers that offer services to these businesses, must have a health management plan
  3. General health obligation – all businesses wishing to employ seasonal workers, and employees travelling to Queensland for work, have a general health obligation to help keep Queensland as safe as possible by following Queensland’s health directives for COVID-19
  4. Stronger compliance – the government will boost compliance capacity by authorising additional officers from regulatory agencies under the Public Health Act 2005
  5. Locally led solutions – the government is working with Local Disaster Management Groups to develop local solutions to address accommodation, transport and workforce supply issues. Additional support is provided through the District Disaster Management Groups and the State Disaster Coordination Group.


More information on these changes are available online for businesses, including templates for the health management plans can be found at: www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/farms-fishing-forestry/agriculture/coronavirus-support/seasonal-workers-covid19.

Information has also been developed for seasonal workers, including temporary visa holders, on their requirements at www.covid19.qld.gov.au/help-and-advice/backpacker-information.


A seasonal worker is defined as:

  • an employee or contractor who usually resides outside of Queensland who:
    1. holds a letter of appointment from a person in paragraph 4; and
    2. travels to Queensland to work in agribusiness or commercial fishing; and
    3. travels on an itinerant basis within Queensland to meet seasonal labour needs; or
  • an employee or contractor who usually resides in Queensland who:
    1. holds a letter of appointment from a person in paragraph 4; and
    2. travels on an itinerant basis within Queensland to work in agribusiness or commercial fishing to meet seasonal labour needs; and
    3. does not return to their usual place of residence in Queensland each day.


The Queensland Government has developed a range of factsheets. The relevant ones for the avocado industry are:

QDAF is further consulting with Queensland Health to clarify if growers who also provide accommodation and transport have to submit three separate health management plans OR if they can submit one plan, that covers all three aspects.


If you have already submitted a health management plan, review the template (available here) and if you make changes, please resubmit. If you do not have to update your plan and it has already been submitted, you do not have to resubmit.


Avocados Australia has curated two useful collection of resources.

  • Useful tips, steps and resources for staying safe in an avocado orchard or packshed. This document includes links to templates for confirmation of employment letters and health declaration templates. Click here.
  • A list of national resources from workplace health and safety to financial assistance. Click here.

If you have any questions about the new framework, please email the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries direct: DAFCOVID19Enquiries@daf.qld.gov.au.

 
 
 
Horticulture Innovation Australia
This Industry Notice has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the avocado research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.