Only critical interstate fly-in-fly-out mine workers will be allowed into Queensland to protect remote and regional communities and local mine workforces.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced that Queensland would close its borders from midnight Saturday to interstate FIFO workers unless they were critical to a project’s operations.
“As all resources ministers around the country have said, the resources sector is essential to maintaining a strong Australian economy,” he said.
“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.
“Exempting critical people will ensure that resources projects can continue to produce the mineral and energy resources we need,” Dr Lynham said.
“Most importantly, these critical people will ensure projects operate safely for the workers on site.”
The ban will exempt people critical to operations, including statutory positions specified in legislation. Statutory positions include people responsible for worker health and safety.
The changes do not affect FIFO or DIDO workers travelling from within Queensland.
Dr Lynham said most of Queensland’s resources companies had already stepped up their procedures in response to the pandemic.
“Government has been working with industry for some time on protective measures,” he said.
“All resources projects in Queensland are providing a COVID plan for their interstate workers to Queensland Health, and have been requested to prepare plans for their intrastate workers.”
The Chief Health Officer has already sought extra precautions in camps and those on the move, whether FIFO or drive-In, drive-out (DIDO).
- infection control in kitchens and food preparation areas.
- suitable accommodation for self-quarantine
- maintaining social distancing in camps, including for recreational activities, including outdoor sport
- limiting movement of workers from camps and into the broader community
- no more ‘hot bedding’ to limit contact between employees
- cleaning each room thoroughly between uses, including changing and washing linen.
- avoiding close contact during transport, including reducing the numbers of people travelling on buses and aircraft.
- thorough cleans between passenger loads getting off, and those getting on temperature testing at airports for passengers boarding aircraft
- people with symptoms not travelling, and to immediately isolate, and seek medical advice.
- reducing FIFO and DIDO during the COVID-19 to minimise the mass movement of people.