COVID-19 updates

    6 April 2020

    Agriculture declared an essential service

    Australia’s entire primary production system has been declared essential as we face the challenges of COVID-19.

    This was confirmed by the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, on 25 March 2020 and by all states and territories.

    The primary production system covers agriculture and all agricultural input industries including crop protection, seeds, fertilizer, GM crop products, feed, fodder, the ag supply retail distribution network, transport, logistics, packaging, labelling and the movement of ag-related workers across state borders.

    View CropLife’s official statement here.

    View CropLife’s media statement here.

     

    State and territory border closures

    A number of Australian states and territories have now announced temporary border closures. All state/territory governments have acknowledged that ag and ag input industries are essential. They will not be restricted in their normal operations.

    South Australia:

    • Borders closed since Tuesday 24 March
    • Government advice available here
    • There are exemptions for essential travel including health and medical supplies, and health personnel and patients, food and commercial supply chains (i.e. the carrying of goods), health workers, near border interactions, travel of a relative/carer of a dependant individual, and for emergency services.
    • Other travellers (for example fly-in-fly-out workers in the mining industry or national level sporting teams) could be exempt from this provision provided they had approved disease control mechanisms in place.

    Western Australia:

    • Borders closed since Tuesday 24 March. Restrictions have increased however exemptions are available to essential travelers.
    • Government advice available here
    • Apply for entry pass here
    • Exemptions apply to health care workers, emergency workers, defence personnel, air and ship crew, specialists, and essential freight personnel (truck drivers/spirit freight
    • Enforcement of the border restrictions will be rolled out with checkpoint stops and arrival cards. Arrivals will have to show they meet the essential criteria to be granted an exemption.

    Queensland:

    • Borders closed since Wednesday 25 March
    • Government advice available here
    • Apply for entry pass here
    • Exemptions will apply for: national/state security; essential health services; emergency services; transport of goods or freight by land, sea or air, including food; critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland; construction, mining/energy/agribusinesses; and federal, state or local government workers or contractors who are required to enter to Queensland to work.

    Northern territory:

    • Borders closed since Tuesday 24 March
    • Government advice available here
    • Exemptions will be in place for people in a range of industries including health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight so as not to impact the delivery of essential goods and services.

    Tasmania:

    • Borders closed since Friday 20 March
    • Government advice available here
    • Exemptions apply to health care workers, emergency workers, defence personnel, air and ship crew, specialists, and essential freight personnel (truck drivers/spirit freight).

     

    COVID-19 economic packages

    The Commonwealth and all state and territory governments have announced economic stimulus packages. You can find all the information relevant to your business here:

     

    New Zealand

    New Zealand is now at Level 4 of their four-level COVID-19 Shut-Down alert system. It is likely Level 4 measures will stay in place for a number of weeks. Only businesses that are essential may remain open during the Level 4 Alert period.

    The entire primary production system in New Zealand has been declared essential.

    For more information visit the Agcarm website.

     

    Free offerings for Australian business continuity

    The Australian Information Industry Association with the support of the Federal Government has released a series of free service offerings, advice and tools designed to support Australian business continuity using technology.

    This support includes a range of remote communications, collaboration, workforce management and video conferencing solutions. It is available online.

     

    OGTR operations

    The OGTR is operating as usual. Companies planning to send in applications should do so and the applications they are currently assessing will continue as planned.

    While some of the team at the OGTR are working remotely, they have the necessary systems in place to continue their work. They ask that during this time, rather than writing to individual officers, you use the online forms and ogtr@health.gov.au or ogtr.applications@health.gov.au email addresses.

    More information is available online.

     

    APVMA operations

    In accordance with social distancing policy, the APVMA have staff working from both the Armidale and Canberra offices and remotely. Many of their staff have significant experience working remotely and do so seamlessly.

    The APVMA has declared that it is committed to maintaining its operations during this time to deliver efficient, effective, timely, and science-based agvet chemical regulation.

    More information is available online.

     

    FarmHub

    FarmHub is a portal that connects Australian farmers to a range of helpful services and support to manage hardship. For more information visit the FarmHub website.

     

    GrainGrowers

    GrainGrowers has released a COVID-19 information guide to assist producers. The guide includes advice about on-farm access to visitors, suggestions for minimising risk across the workforce and planning ahead in relation to chemicals and fertiliser requirements. The information guide can be downloaded here.

     

    Citrus Australia

    Citrus Australia has released a Guide to COVID-19 in the Orchard & Packing Shed.  This guide is an important resource for citrus growers and packers dealing with COVID-19 in the workplace. The guide can be downloaded here.

     

    CropLife office arrangements

    CropLife is working remotely. Our main line 02 6273 2733 will remain active.