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Queensland border restrictions

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Queensland Government is tightening restricted entry into Queensland.

New restrictions will apply from Friday 12.01 am Friday 3 April 2020 which will only allow Queensland residents and those considered an ‘exempt person’ to cross the border.

Restrictions preventing interstate FIFO workers (except for certain positions in certain resource industries) apply from 11.59pm Saturday 4 April 2020.

These restrictions continue provide for the continuation of essential goods and services for Queenslanders.

International arrivals

As per the Commonwealth Government’s travel restrictions, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

A person who arrives in Queensland from overseas is required to self-quarantine in a nominated place for 14 days, as instructed by a relevant government officer, whether Queensland is the person’s final destination, or not.

Interstate arrival restrictions

Only Queensland residents and those considered an ‘exempt person’ will be allowed to enter Queensland via air, sea, rail or road from another State or Territory from 12.01 am on Friday 3 April 2020.

If you meet the criteria for an ‘exempt person’ (see below for more details—‘Who is allowed to enter Queensland?’), then please consider applying online for a Queensland Entry Pass to avoid delays at the border. These restrictions replace the arrangements which allow people who are not exempt, to cross the border provided they self-quarantine for 14 days.

Even if a person is a resident or an exempt person, they must self-quarantine if they have travelled in the last 14 days overseas, or to a COVID-19 hotspot in Australia, which will be decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.

Those people moving to Queensland to take up permanent residence will be allowed to enter, but will also be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, which could be at the new residential address.

If a person is entering Queensland from another State or Territory by air in order to transfer to another flight they are allowed to enter Queensland, but must remain in the airport until the time of a transfer to another flight, or self-quarantine in a hotel until the other flight or follow the direction of the relevant authorities self-quarantine at a nominated premises, for example if a return flight is not available the same day.

Queensland residents

If you are a Queensland resident returning to Queensland from overseas, you must self-quarantine for 14 days.

If you are a Queensland resident returning from any other place in Australia that is not a declared COVID-19 hotspot you do not have to enter self-quarantine.

Who is allowed to enter Queensland (who is considered an ‘exempt person’)?

Exempt people are those living outside of Queensland who provide critical services to Queensland:

  • 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 see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
  • federal, state or local government workers or contractors who are required to enter to Queensland to work

If you are providing these critical services and need to enter Queensland, you can apply for an entry pass. Heavy vehicles carrying any kinds of freight or good across the border do not have apply for an entry pass.

Queensland also allows a general compassionate grounds exemption, as well as specific exemptions for those living outside of Queensland who:

  • are carers/relatives of dependant individuals in Queensland
  • need to obtain essential medical treatment including visiting terminally ill relatives in Queensland
  • are interstate boarding school students where school is closed
  • are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions etc.)

You will also be considered an ‘exempt person’ if you are moving to make Queensland your permanent place of residence, but you must enter quarantine for 14 days (which could be at your new residence).

If these relate to you and you need to enter Queensland, you can apply for an entry pass.

Exemption for border communities

People who live near the border of Queensland, NSW, SA or the NT who ordinarily work or study in Queensland can continue to travel for that work or study, even if your work is not related to essential services. This also applies for Queensland residents who travel to NSW, SA or the NT for work or education.

This exemption only applies if you do not stay in Queensland for longer than reasonably necessary to attend your work or study.

The exemption also applies if you live in a border community and need to travel interstate to obtain essential goods and services, including to attend school or child care or obtain medical or other essential services. If these exemptions apply to you, you can apply for an entry pass.

Exemption for FIFO workers

A person who lives interstate and works in  Queensland in the construction, commercial fishing,  manufacturing, resources sector, energy or agribusiness industry is still  allowed to travel to Queensland to work without having to undertake  self-quarantine provided their employer has provided a compliant plan to manage  preventing the transmission of COVID-19 among its employees and the community.

However, additional restrictions will be in place  for FIFO workers in the resource sector who live interstate and work in  Queensland from 11.59pm Saturday 4 April 2020. From that time, only critical  resource sector employees will be allowed to enter Queensland from interstate  to work. These are employees critical to the ongoing operation of a resource  activity or the resource supply chain which are detailed on the Queensland  Health website.

FIFO workers who live and work in Queensland can  continue to work in any FIFO roles in Queensland. Additional restrictions about  overseas travel or hotspots continue to apply to interstate and Queensland  FIFOs.

Whether  the FIFO worker comes from interstate or within Qld, they will be required to  provide evidence that they are FIFO workers, who they are working for, and that  they are entering Qld to go directly to work.

The companies they work for in Queensland will also have to provide a health plan that complies with requirements set by the Chief Health Officer that ensures adequate hygiene and safety requirements to limit the transmission of COVID19.

Access the template Health Plan (DOCX).

For Queensland residents who perform FIFO work for a company interstate, that company does not have to comply with a health plan set by Chief Health Officer. However if the FIFO work is in a hotspot declared by Chief Health Officer, the person must self-quarantine on return to Queensland.

FAQ's

What has changed with the border restrictions?

As of 12.01 am Friday 3 April 2020, you will no longer be able to enter Queensland unless you are an ‘exempt person’ from the restrictions. Previously you could enter Queensland if you were not exempt from the restrictions as long as you agreed to a 14 day self-quarantine period. That quarantine option is no longer available.

As of 11.59pm Saturday 4 April 2020, interstate FIFO workers (except for certain positions in certain resource industries) will no longer be able to work in Queensland in order to protect our remote vulnerable communities.

Do all workers need a permit to cross the border?

Everyone who wishes to cross the border to work must obtain a permit, whether you live in the cross border communities or not.

Will essential services vehicles still be waived through by Police?

Existing compliance routines for essential services vehicles will remain in place to minimise disruption.

Does this apply at airports too?

Yes, these restrictions apply to all points of entry to Queensland, whether this is by way of air, road, rail or sea.

Who will you turn back at the border?

Anyone who is not able to demonstrate that they fall into the exempted persons categories of Queensland’s restrictions will be turned back at the border and required to leave.

Have you changed the kinds of people who can cross the border?

The only additional restrictions to the categories of people who can cross the border are in relation to particular critical FIFO workers in the resource industry who live interstate and wish to travel to Queensland to work.

A full list will be published on the Queensland Health website specifically stating which positions these additional restrictions apply to. These will be employees critical to the ongoing operation of a resource activity or the resource supply chain.

This will include statutory positions under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999, and the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004. Positions such as site senior executives, mine managers, and mechanical and electrical engineering managers will be included.

The Chief Health Officer can also approve a person as a critical resources sector employee.

I am in transport or freight—will I be stopped?

Existing compliance routines for transport and freight vehicles will remain in place to minimise disruption.

Will this increase delays at the border?

These restrictions are necessary to slow the spread of the virus in Queensland. Measures will be put in place to minimise delays as much as possible. We encourage everyone who meets the criteria for an 'exempt person'to apply for a Queensland Entry Pass online to avoid delays at the border.

How do I get a permit?

You can apply for a permit through an online application process.

Can I get a permit at the border?

Yes you can still be allowed entry at the border if you have not applied for a pass online before you enter. However to avoid delays you are strongly advised to apply for an entry pass before you enter Queensland. Not having a pass will cause unnecessary delays.

I am a Queensland resident—can I still come across the border and do I need a permit?

If you are a Queensland resident and are interstate, you are permitted to re-enter Queensland. You are strongly advised to obtain a permit before you re-enter to avoid delays at the border.

However, even if a person is a resident or an exempt person, they must self-quarantine if they have travelled in the last 14 days overseas, or to particular areas of Australia, which will be decided by the Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website.

I live in a border community—how will these changes affect me?

There are no changes to the way in which the cross border communities restrictions operate as they have always been exempt from the quarantine requirements.

Does this apply at ports?

Yes, these restrictions apply to all points of entry to Queensland, whether this by way of air, road, rail or sea.

FIFO FAQ's

Can fly-in-fly-out resource sector workers who live in other states continue to enter Queensland for work?

From 11:59pm Saturday 4 April 2020, only critical resource sector employees will be allowed to enter Queensland from interstate to their work. FIFO workers who live and work in Queensland can continue to work in any FIFO roles in Queensland (Queensland FIFOs are not restricted to critical resource sector employees).

Additional restrictions apply if the FIFO worker has been in a designated ‘hotspot’ or returned from overseas in the last 14 days – regardless of whether any exemptions exist for those workers, they must enter quarantine for 14 days before working in Queensland. Designated ‘hotspots’ are to be published on the Queensland Health website [none declared as at 31 March].

Who are critical resource sector employees?

A full list will be published on the Queensland Health website specifically stating which positions are critical. These will be employees critical to the ongoing operation of a resource activity or the resource supply chain.

This will include statutory positions under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999, and the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004. Positions such as site senior executives, mine managers, and mechanical and electrical engineering managers will be included.

The Chief Health Officer can also approve a person as a critical resources sector employee.

What if I am a resource sector employee and I already live and work in Queensland? Do these restrictions apply to me?

These restrictions do not apply to you, whether you are a fly-in-fly-out worker or a drive-in-drive out worker. You do not have to be deemed a ‘critical resource employee’ to continue to live and work in Queensland. Additional restrictions apply if the FIFO worker has been in a designated ‘hotspot’ or returned from overseas in the last 14 days – regardless of whether any exemptions exist for those workers, they must enter quarantine for 14 days before working in Queensland. Designated ‘hotspots’ are to be published on the Queensland Health website [none declared as at 31 March].

Why are we doing this?

It is essential to maintain a strong economy as best we can throughout this crisis and the resource industry is an essential part of this. We want to protect our remote and regional communities, which may be particularly dependent upon this sector.

General FAQ's

How will the measures be enforced?

Queensland police and other emergency officers under the Public Health Act 2005 will be responsible for enforcing the measures. Other Commonwealth officers may also be involved.

Specific processes apply for those entering Queensland through airports, who will be required to provide certain information including:

  • personal and contact details
  • the address where they intend to stay in Queensland
  • information about where they have travelled in the last 30 days
  • a valid Queensland Entry Pass

Enforcement officers will also be monitoring the rail and sea ports, as well as roads.

If a person fails to comply with the direction/s, an emergency officer may use reasonable force to enforce the direction.

If the person does not comply with the quarantine directions, penalties can also apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets for lesser amounts ($1334.50 for individuals, or $6,672.50 for corporations).

Why has Queensland adopted these measures?

With the increasing importance of restricting the spread of the virus, it is critical that we implement further measures that will restrict travel.

This is not about absolute border closures – we want to ensure essential food and supplies and services continue to be able to come into Queensland.

Will freight and equipment be able to cross the border into Queensland?

Freight and logistics for any goods into Queensland from interstate is still permitted, including retail goods for pharmacies, grocery stores and petrol stations, on the condition that the person must practise social distancing wherever possible, including maintaining a distance of at least 1.5 metres where reasonably practicable and remain isolated in their vehicle or accommodation.

Are people living in cross-border communities banned from crossing the border? (e.g. between Coolangatta and Tweed Heads)

Residents should follow the clear advice to minimise movement however people are not banned from accessing local essential goods and services such as food and medical supplies, travel for any kind of employment and for other permitted purposes.

Can people cross the border who live on one side (NSW) and work on the other side (Queensland)?

The restrictions still allow people to undertake essential travel between their residence and place of work. This should be limited or minimised due to the need to reduce travel as much as possible. This also applies for people who live in Queensland, and work in NSW.

Will the Gold Coast Airport remain open?

Yes, but the restrictions will apply to all arrivals, and there will be very limited services operating.

Can local people visit a shop (across the border) to purchase essential items?

Yes. For example, people can travel from Rainbow Bay to visit their local shop in South Tweed to buy essential items such as food. Travelling across the border to buy non-essential items is not allowed.

What are other jurisdictions doing?

Queensland's restrictions are broadly similar to other jurisdictions, except that Queensland allows people living in cross border communities to travel interstate for work without having to self-quarantine, but only for as long as that work requires them to do this. They can also obtain essential food/services by travelling across the border.

Border restrictions have been introduced in NT, SA and WA.

NSW and Victoria have indicated they will not be restricting their borders.

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