As of midnight April 4, Queensland’s borders will be closed to all non-critical fly-in-fly-out resource sector employees who work in Queensland but live interstate, as the government seeks to protect regional and remote communities from the COVID-19 disease.
Mines Minister Dr. Anthony Lynham announced the decision in a statement on March 31. “The resources sector is essential to maintaining a strong Australian economy.
“It is critical that we move now to prevent people who may have been exposed to the virus bringing it to Queensland.
“Queensland has no known cases in our remote regional communities, and restricting these workers from entering the state will remove a possible transmission route,” he said.
Exemptions will be granted to “critical resource sector workers” who are essential to safety, operations, and time-critical work. Examples include workers required to conduct safety maintenance and compliance activities; workers involved in the implementation of emergency response; workers who must hold a competency to undertake a task; workers employed in technical operations, maintenance and repair, essential construction, warehousing and logistics; specialist technicians; and medical service workers.
“Exempting critical people will ensure that resources projects can continue to produce the mineral and energy resources we need,” said Lynham. “Most importantly, these critical people will ensure projects operate safely for the workers on site.”
The new border restrictions issued by Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeanette Young applies to anyone trying to enter the state.
In addition, all returning residents to Queensland must self-isolate for 14 days, regularly wash their hands, limit travel out of the home or workplace to purchasing food and essentials, and remain 1.5 meters (4 feet) away from others.
On Jan. 29, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency for all of Queensland, which is in effect until May 19. This is the third stage of border restrictions for Queensland under these powers.
Each state and territory has its own entry requirements. Out of Australia’s eight states and territories, only New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory don’t currently have border controls. Authorities are encouraging people to assess and prove their need to travel across borders. Significant penalties can apply to anyone who doesn’t comply.