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Vaccination requirements of freight workers in Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Government has introduced mandatory vaccination requirements for freight workers who enter the Northern Territory.

Once a freight worker has entered the Territory, they must also comply with mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements and if travelling from a COVID-19 hotspot mandatory quarantine requirements.

Who is captured by the freight worker mandatory vaccination requirements?

A freight worker includes anyone who provides services for the transport of goods or freight into, within, or out of the Territory by road or rail including:

  • A heavy vehicle driver.
  • A non-heavily vehicle commercial fright operator.
  • Any other person essential to the delivery of goods.

What are the mandatory vaccination requirements for freight workers?

A freight worker must not enter the Territory unless the worker has been vaccinated as follows:

  • from 1 November 2021 - the worker has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; and
  • from 13 December 2021 – the worker has received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

What evidence does a freight worker need to enter the Territory?

To be permitted to enter the Territory a freight workers must produce:

  • Evidence of the freight worker’s vaccination.
  • For example, a completed appointment slip or medical certificate for the first dose or a digital certificate for full vaccination shown on a mobile phone.

  • A Freight Risk Mitigation Management Plan certificate.
  • Since last year, certain freight workers entering the Territory have been required to complete a Freight Risk Mitigation Management Plan prior to crossing the border. This now applies more broadly to all freight workers.

    The plan sets out how a freight worker will mitigate the risk of infecting others with COVID-19 while in the Territory.

    Once complete the freight worker receives a certificate which must be produced on crossing the border. The certificate must be current at the time of entry i.e. drivers with expired certificates will need to complete the application process again.

  • A border entry form.

What are the testing requirements?

Freight workers must get a COVID-19 test every 7 days while in the Territory.

The first test must occur on or before the earlier of the day the freight worker enters the Territory, or as soon as practicable after entry. Under the Freight Risk Mitigation Management Plan the first test is required within the first 48 hours.

When would a freight worker need to quarantine?

If a freight worker has been in a hotspot or at an exposure site, the worker must quarantine at a suitable place for 14 days.

The accommodation must allow for social distancing and sleeping arrangements separate from others not in quarantine.

Freight workers subject to quarantine must practice social distancing as follows:

  • sleeping in a room or other enclosed space separate to others who are not subject to social distancing measures
  • staying 1.5 metres away from others
  • always wearing a face mask while the worker is not in their vehicle or accommodation.

Freight workers must comply with all the requirements under the freight risk mitigation plan approved by the Department of Health.

Freight workers must regularly check for symptoms of COVID-19 and contact the COVID-19 Hotline or a medical practitioner to determine whether to be tested or assessed for infection.

What consequences could these requirements have on residential building work?

These requirements may result in delivery delays for materials into the Territory.

If you deal with freight workers that aren’t yet vaccinated, it may be beneficial to look at freight services that have workers who are vaccinated to keep delays to a minimum.

If you have freight workers coming into the Territory, you should ensure they have evidence of their vaccination status and have completed a freight risk mitigation management plan and border entry form so as to avoid any unnecessary delays.

If you experience delays, you should communicate this to your clients and arrange a later date for the works to be completed. You will need to issue a written notice explaining the cause for the delays.

HIA has information to help members deal with delays that may be of assistance.

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