COVID-19 update for Primary Producers

Primary industry workers are classed as essential workers.

Within the rules, it is a reasonable excuse to leave home if you cannot reasonably work from home and if the business is allowed to be open.

Employers must allow an employee to work from home if the employee is reasonably able to do so. If you cannot work from home and you go to your workplace, you must wear a mask at all times when working indoors or outdoors.

Can workers travel?

  • Workers can only travel in a vehicle with people they live with when travelling to and from work.
  • If required to travel in a work vehicle whilst on duty, workers can travel with another worker if it is required. Masks should be worn. 
  • Carry proof of address and supporting evidence when travelling for work such as a letter from the employer.
  • If a worker needs to travel from an LGA impacted by stay-at-home orders, they should take the most practicable route and only stop for essential needs such as fuel, rest stops or to deal with an emergency.

Can I travel into regions impacted by stay-at-home orders?

It is advised not to travel into these areas, however the same reasonable excuses to leave home apply, which includes doing work if unable to reasonably do so from home. Any traveller must follow the stay-at-home orders when they return home from the LGA visited.  

Can my workers travel interstate for their work?

Businesses should check the details of the state or territory their workers need to travel to, to see if workers are permitted to cross the border. In some cases, previously supplied permits may be void if a worker is from or has been in a lockdown area of NSW. Interstate rules are changing frequently so check before travelling. 

Further information on interstate travel can be found at travel to and from NSW and from the relevant state or territory government website.

Can I deliver stock to a sale yard, feedlot or processor in an impacted LGA?

Yes, you can deliver stock to these facilities.

If you reside outside an impacted LGA, you can deliver animals to these facilities, but must follow COVID-19 safety rules whilst in the LGA and follow stay at home orders when you return home.

Can livestock auctions take place in an impacted LGA?

Only online auctions can occur during the stay-at-home order period. Stock agents will be permitted to attend a property for this purpose and stock inspections can be scheduled to minimise risks, but crowds are not permitted for the auction.  

The business will be required to have a COVID Business Safety Plan in place and have a QR code to track all visitors. If unable to do QR code, a business must keep a register that can be provided to Health officials if requested, within 4 hours in either excel or csv file format. This register must be held for a period of 1 month.

What do operating businesses need to do?

Places that are allowed to be open must follow the relevant rules including

If QR code isn’t possible, a register of attendance must be recorded. The business owner must hold onto this for a period of 1 month and if requested by Health officials, provide it within 4 hours as an excel spreadsheet or csv file. This register must be held for a period of 1 month.

What are the changes to cross the Victorian border?

The Victorian Government has advised of the extension of the Victorian Lockdown until at least 11:59pm, Thursday 19 August, and the introduction of a cross-border permit for cross border residents

From 6pm, Friday 13 August residents of the cross-border community local government areas will now be required to obtain a permit to cross between Victoria and NSW.

The reasons Cross Border Community Area residents can cross the Victorian-NSW border still include:

  • Necessary goods and services, including medical care
  • Care or other compassionate reasons
  • Work (whether paid or voluntary, including for charitable or religious purposes)
  • Education (including childcare or early childhood services) 
  • Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Organised/community sport and exercise connected to or organised by a club or facility.

Residents will be able to apply for a permit from Thursday afternoon at the Service Victoria website and via the Service Victoria app.

Protecting Primary Industries

There are risks to the workforce and business continuity during this period and we strongly encourage business owners to manage for these risks.

This is a crucial time to scenario plan and think through any COVID-19 risks your workers may encounter and how you will manage business continuity in the case of a workplace infection. If your business has animals, consider your animal welfare needs and how your business will support this if your business is affected.

The DPI webpage has a collection of resources to support businesses and will continue to add resources as they are developed.

Where can I get support for my business?

NSW Government has a free Business Concierge service to provide guidance to businesses. To book a session with the Business Concierge, call Service NSW on 13 77 88, or visit the Business Concierge webpage.

What other financial support may be available for people and businesses?

For information on COVID-19 financial support including eligibility criteria and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) please visit the following pages:

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