Agricultural exemption secured for Queensland's hard border

A spray rig stops at the border checkpoint at Goondiwindi.
A spray rig stops at the border checkpoint at Goondiwindi.

A newly-created exemption will allow farmers and agribusiness workers to move freely across the New South Wales-Queensland border under current COVID restrictions.

Agricultural workers from both states, who meet specific requirements, can now travel across the border anywhere in NSW and QLD, by road or air, until at least Friday, August 20.

The class exemption is for movement associated with performing essential services for the agriculture supply chain or farming activities, including the care of livestock.

However, there are strict conditions under the exemption which workers must meet before crossing the border, including the need to provide evidence of their employment or contract, property ownership, lease or agistment arrangements.

Workers wanting to cross into Queensland will need to provide evidence they have already unsuccessfully attempted to source the skills from a non-hotspot in another state or territory, or that it is too costly or time prohibitive.

Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, said the free movement of agricultural workers across state borders was crucial for food and fibre producers, security of food supply chains and the economy, especially during times of COVID.

"The exemption is timely, especially given we've just started another large bull sale season in the north of the state, which typically attract many buyers from Queensland," Mr Marshall said.

"This will allow vital agricultural work to take place and ensure our farmers can keep operating without unreasonable delays and barriers, while still safeguarding public health priorities," he said.

Those travelling or returning to NSW from Queensland will be required to complete an online declaration each time they cross the border.

Rules and restrictions apply if you have been in an affected area, area of concern or a place of high concern, and are entering NSW.

The list of requirements for crossing the border under the class exemption are available on the QLD Government's Business Queensland website.