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COVID-19 Border Control Measures

April 09, 2020

In response to COVID-19, restrictions have been put in place to minimise all non-essential travel internationally and domestically. All overseas travel for Australians has effectively been banned, with very limited exceptions. In addition, state governments and territories have introduced strict border controls, preventing interstate travel.

Can I continue to work?

Yes.

Members should be aware that:

  • The construction industry has been deemed an essential service by all governments whilst ensuring social distancing measures are complied with. HIA has prepared guidelines for members to use to assist with complying with these requirements. Download a copy of these guidelines; and
  • Each State and Territory have moved to implement additional restrictions, including border control measures, which have presented some difficulties for construction workers attending workplaces which are across State and Territory borders, or in cases where a worker lives in one state and performs work in another (e.g.- travel between Northern New South Wales and South East Queensland).

How can I prove I am working for an essential service in the construction industry?

The State and Territory border control measures should not prevent you attending work however it is advised that you have some form of identification whilst travelling to prove the work you are undertaking is an essential service or in an exempt category for travel (e.g. - letter provided from employer, copy of the relevant government information, copy of this information sheet and relevant identification, copy of employers/principal contractor’s policy for managing COVID-19, contracts, etc.).

Some States and Territories also have the requirement to obtain a permit or provide evidence where cross border travel is required for work related purposes (see below).

What are the State and Territory border control measures?

New South Wales (NSW) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The NSW and ACT governments have not introduced border restrictions, however workers must be mindful of other State and Territory restrictions when travelling across boarder (e.g. - from NSW to Queensland). Further advice about travel recommendations and non-essential travel for NSW can be found here and for ACT here.

Northern Territory (NT)

All non-essential travellers arriving at the NT border will be required to undertake 14 days forced quarantine at a Government designated location. Accommodation costs for the quarantine period will also be required to be covered by the traveller ($2,500 per individual, and $5,000 per family). A border arrival form must be filled in.

There are very limited grounds on which a construction worker would be deemed an ‘essential traveller’ and enter the NT for work related activities. Further clarification can be found click here.

Queensland (QLD)

Construction workers that drive in a vehicle are still able to enter QLD for work related purposes, however must obtain a border pass. Otherwise a person who arrives in QLD from another State or Territory will not be allowed to enter Queensland, unless they are an exempt person. Further information about exemptions and border passes..

South Australia (SA)

The SA government has issued directions requiring everyone who arrives into the state to enter into self-quarantine for 14 days. Anyone who is considered an ‘Essential Traveller’ is exempt from the quarantine requirements. 

There would be very limited grounds under which a construction worker could be deemed an ‘essential traveller’ and enter for work related activities without needing to self-quarantine. However, persons who are ordinarily a resident at, or near, a South Australian border and who, in the ordinary course of their occupation, education or daily life, have reasonable cause to travel across that border are deemed ‘essential travellers’. For more details visit SA goverment COVID-19 information website.

Tasmania (TAS)

The TAS government has implemented strict border restrictions.  Any non-essential traveller entering TAS must enter self-isolation for 14 days, in a facility provided by government with basic costs covered. 

Essential travellers entering TAS are not required to enter self-isolation unless another isolation condition applies (e.g. - if a member of their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 then they will have to self-isolate).  Essential travellers however are required to stay in single room accommodation and report to a medical practitioner if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

There are very limited grounds under which a construction worker could be deemed an ‘essential traveller’ and enter TAS for work related purposes without needing to self-isolate. Further clarification can be found on Tasmanian goverment coronavirus information.

Victoria (VIC)

The Victorian Government has not introduced boarder restrictions, however, there are border restrictions that apply to travel from VIC into other States or Territories. For example, where a VIC resident travels to SA for work, the SA border restrictions will apply on entry, however when returning to VIC there will be no border restrictions. 

The VIC Government has put in place strict restrictions for travel generally. People are restricted from leaving home or undertaking certain activities however workers in the construction industry are not prevented from attending work. To find out more information.

Western Australia (WA)

Travellers are unable to enter WA unless an exemption has been granted. Anyone seeking an exemption must complete an Exemption Application form prior to travel and submit it by emailing the form to WAEntryRequest@police.wa.gov.au. The exemption form and proof of its submission must be carried when travelling, as you may be required to produce the documentation at a check point or by WA Police. Failure to produce this documentation may result in penalties.

There are very limited grounds under which a construction worker could receive an exemption to travel into WA for work related activities.  Further clarification can be found about WA border directions.

Regional travel restrictions also apply within WA, however do not prevent the carrying out of construction work. Work related regional travel is considered exempt from the restrictions. When travelling through regional areas you will need to demonstrate at regional checkpoints that the travel is for work related purposes by:

  • Using a ‘Good 2 Go’ (G2G PASS) where a QR code can be displayed on a mobile phone and/or through a vehicle window; or
  • providing Police with supporting documentation, such as a letter/email/SMS from an employer, that proves you meet the criteria to travel intrastate.

To find out more information go to WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Should you require further information please call a HIA Workplace Adviser on 1300 650 620