Coronavirus (COVID-19) – links & resources

The spread of a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) continues in Australia. On this page you will find useful resources grouped under the various headings (health, food safety, financial assistance, workplace information, specific industry information).

According to SafeWork Australia, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic. You can find the latest news in our Australian and International sections, and Members can find a blog here, where we post regular updates.

Avocados Australia is compiling a list of national resources. Where possible, the links below go directly to the COVID-19 relevant page.

Key links

Health information

Export

On 1 April, the Australian Government announced support for air freight into key markets including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and the UAE from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Read the release here. Exporters are strongly encouraged to fill out this online form as it will inform the freight coordination team as they prioritise routes. Horticulture (such as premium fruits and packaged salad or vegetables) is among the eligible produce. Austrade has more details here.

Food safety

Financial assistance (Federal)

Labour

The Government is making a number of changes to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis in order to protect the health of our community, safeguard job opportunities for Australians, support critical industries, and assist with rapid recovery.

  • The Australian Government is offering a Relocation Assistance to Take up a Job assistance from 1 December 2020. We’ve put information about this assistance and the various state assistance on our page for jobseekers, click here.
    • As well as the national assistance, there are also programs from various state governments, including Queensland and Western Australia.
  • Click here for details of visa changes (including seasonal and working holiday makers) from the Australian Government and how they apply to ag
  • Click here for details for specific visas
  • If you are a visa holder, click here for a FAQ page from the Australian Government

Workplace information

 

Managing the risks from COVID-19

The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws require a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers and others at the workplace. This includes providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risk to health and safety.

To comply with the model WHS laws, PCBUs must identify hazards at the workplace and the associated risks, and do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate those risks, or where this is not reasonably practicable, to minimise those risks.

Whether a control measure is reasonably practicable to implement involves consideration of what is able to be done to manage a risk and whether it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so. The likelihood of the risk occurring, the degree of harm that might result and the availability and suitability of a control measure are key considerations in determining what measures are reasonable. Further general guidance is available in the model Code of Practice: Managing the work environment and facilities (LINK).

Exposure to COVID-19 is a potential hazard for workers and other people at workplaces. PCBUs must have measures in place to protect worker health and safety and manage these risks.

PCBUs need to keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and advice to ensure that any action taken is measured and appropriate. This includes closely monitoring the Australian Government Department of Health, the Smartraveller website and any advice from state or territory government agencies.

Depending on the workplace, an appropriate range of actions may include:

  • providing clear advice to workers about actions staff members should take if they become unwell or think they may have the symptoms of coronavirus, in accordance with advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and state or territory health department
  • eliminating or minimising international work travel, in line with the travel advice on the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website
  • providing regular updates to workers about the situation and any changes to organisational policies or procedures
  • contingency planning to manage staff absences.

Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and to not adversely affect the health and safety of others. Workers should be reminded to always practice good hygiene and other measures to protect themselves and other against infection. This includes:

  • washing their hands often, with soap and water, or carrying hand sanitiser and using it as needed
  • covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing, but not using their hands to do so
  • seeing a health care professional if they start to feel unwell
  • if unwell, avoiding contact with others (including shaking hands or other touching, such as hugging).

 

Author: Lisa Yorkston
Date Published: 19/03/2020