The Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Tania Constable has stated that continuing the movement of essential operational staff is crucial in keeping the mining industry active as the nation faces economic shocks fanned by the coronavirus spread. The Federal Resources Minister, Keith Pitt has echoed this sentiment, stating that “Ministers recognise the resources sector is essential to Australia’s economy. The maintenance of resources sector operations, in parallel to the implementation of new health measures, is a key priority” and recognised that the resources industry would “play a lead role in our economic recovery”, with “the jobs it creates” acting as a “lifeline to many regional communities”.
Yet despite these statements, the restrictions on interstate and intrastate movements are constantly changing. To assist you in managing the movements of your workers, we have collated the following snapshot outlining the travel restrictions currently in place and the potential restrictions your company may need to be aware of when navigating workforce movements to and from site.
This information is current at Thursday 30 September 2021.
For more up to date information and specific advice, please contact Marshall McKenna.
Australia wide travel restrictions
The table below contains a summary of domestic travel restrictions within Australia.
All international travel is still restricted. International arrivals will be capped at 900 people per week (about 128 per day) at Perth Airport. Please see Smart Traveller for updates on international travel.
All references to time are AWST.
Western Australia (WA)
Travellers from New Zealand and ACT are no longer permitted into WA unless they have an exemption. This applies to anyone who has not been in a ‘very low risk’ state or territory for longer than 14 days before entering WA.
Travellers from NSW and VIC are not allowed to enter WA except in extraordinary circumstances.
Travellers from NT, SA and TAS can enter WA.
All travellers entering WA must have a valid G2G pass.
Arrivals from New Zealand, NSW, QLD, ACT and VIC must quarantine for 14 days. All Arrivals will be subject to COVID-19 tests upon arrival.
Arrivals from NSW, VIC and VIC must also have proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test in the 72 hours prior to departure and .must prove receipt of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, where eligible.
Overseas travellers must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
South Australia (SA)
All travellers into SA must complete a Cross Border Travel Registration 7 days before entering from any state or territory.
Travellers from NSW, VIC and ACT are prohibited from entering SA, unless exempt. Specific restrictions also apply to entry onto the APY lands.
Arrivals from NSW, VIC and ACT must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Any overseas travellers (including New Zealanders) to SA must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
Metropolitan Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria are currently in lockdown. A curfew is in place from 9pm to 5am every day in Metropolitan Melbourne.
Travel into VIC is allowed with a permit. The permit operates in a ‘traffic light’ system, of green zone, orange zone, and red zone. A traveller cannot apply for a permit if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Travellers from green and orange zones may enter VIC (currently SA, TAS, WA and the NT).
Travellers from red zones are not allowed to enter VIC unless exempt (currently New Zealand and local government areas (LGAs) in NSW).
Travellers from extreme risk zones cannot enter VIC unless they have an exemption (currently NSW, except for LGAs in regional NSW, and ACT).
Green zone permit holders do not have to quarantine on arrival.
Extreme risk zone travellers must show evidence of a COVID-19 test result within 72 hours after entry into VIC.
Overseas travellers (including New Zealanders) must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
New South Wales (NSW)
Greater Sydney and parts of regional NSW are currently in lockdown until the Monday after NSW passes the 70% double vaccination target.
Travellers arriving in NSW from an affected area or area of concern in the past 14 days must complete a travel declaration form. Affected areas and areas of concern can be found on the NSW Health Department website (currently these areas are ACT, QLD and Vic).
Travellers from an affected area do not need to quarantine.
Travellers who have been to an area of concern must immediately travel to and stay at their place of residence for 14 days. Travellers may only leave if they have a reasonable excuse.
Travellers who have been to a place of high concern must isolate for 14 days on arrival if they are a close contact with a COVID-19 case. Travellers who have been to a place of high concern who are casual contacts of a COVID-19 case must get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
Overseas travellers (including New Zealanders) must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
Travellers may enter QLD from any State or Territory except travellers from COVID-19 hotspots (currently NSW,VIC and ACT) unless exempt.
Anyone entering QLD from another State, Territory or New Zealand must make an online travel declaration (either a Queensland Travel Declaration or a Queensland Border Declaration Pass, depending on your situation) unless exempt.
Travellers from COVID-19 hotspots in the last 14 days must quarantine in government arranged accommodation for 14 days upon arrival (currently exposure sites are in NSW, VIC and ACT, SA).
Overseas travellers (including New Zealanders) must quarantine in government-arranged accommodation.
Northern Territory (NT)
Travellers from hotspots or public exposure sites (currently ACT, NSW and VIC) are not allowed to enter the NT unless they are returning Territorians or exempt.
All arrivals must complete a Border Entry Form.
All travellers who have spent time in a declared hotspot in the last 14 days must undertake 14 days mandatory supervised quarantine or until they obtain a negative test result (currently ACT, NSW and VIC).
International arrivals (including New Zealanders) must quarantine for 14 days in government accommodation, commencing on date of arrival into the NT.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
The ACT is in lockdown until 14 October. Non-ACT residents travelling from NSW or Greater Melbourne cannot enter unless exempt.
Travellers from NSW and VIC must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the ACT.
Overseas travellers (including New Zealanders) must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation, unless exempted.
Travellers from high-risk premises in ACT, NZ, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, WA, overseas and cruise ships must be approved to enter TAS.
Travellers from low-risk areas in all states may enter TAS (currently NT, QLD (except for certain high-risk premises), SA (except for certain high-risk premises) and WA (except for certain high-risk premises)).
There are no restrictions on travel within TAS.
Exempt travellers from high-risk areas must quarantine.
FIFO workers from medium risk areas may be classified as “Essential Travellers” and will not have to quarantine.
Overseas travellers (including New Zealanders from low-risk areas) must quarantine in government-arranged accommodation for 14 days.
For updates please see the COVID-19 Restriction Checker.
G2G WA – electronic licencing program
The WA Police and State Government have now rolled out an electronic/online process for individual licencing (Good to Go Pass (G2G Pass)). The program involves the use of an app and QR codes which will act as licences for authorised travellers.
The WA Police will be responsible for issuing individuals with an electronic “licence” that the individuals will be able to display on their smartphone or table at checkpoints when stopped by the WA Police. This process will permit licenced persons to travel across State, regional and local government authority boundaries in accordance with the exemptions of their licences.
The G2G Pass program will replace the current process of company letters and health declarations and will manage all border crossings in Western Australia. However, company letters and health declarations will continue to be accepted at border crossings while the State transitions to the G2G Pass program.
Western Australia has transitioned from a hard border to a controlled border.
Intrastate travel within Western Australia
All of Western Australia’s internal boundaries have now been lifted except for:
- remote Aboriginal community restriction (all access to regional Aboriginal communities has been restricted – including for mining and mineral exploration employees); and
- (potentially) self-imposed restrictions by native title holders (we are aware that some Aboriginal representative bodies have imposed their own restrictions on lands subject to native title determinations).
For current, project specific advice – please contact Marshall McKenna.
G2G WA licencing program
The G2G Pass program has now been introduced by the State Government and the WA Police. The G2G Pass program covers:
- State border crossings (interstate); and
- remote Aboriginal communities.
The application process is split into two separate processes – individual applications and business applications of 20 employees or more. Businesses are able to bulk upload the details of their employees. Companies are given a template to update with the details of their workers that are required to travel across intrastate, remote boundaries.
Employers need to provide the following details for their employees:
- date of birth;
- employee ID;
- mobile phone number;
- work email;
- regions that the employee must travel through (state and Biosecurity);
- exemption categories (state and Biosecurity) and
- drivers licence details.
Employers are also expected to provide contact details for an authorised officer of the company and a declaration from the authorised officer of the company confirming the employees’ employment with the company and that the employees listed must travel for work.
The “licences” will be sent electronically to the relevant employees and will need to be presented to the WA Police at checkpoints and on request on roaming patrols. The company will also receive an electronic confirmation that the licence has been issued. On the G2G Pass website, the WA Police have advised that they will aim to provide a decision within 72 hours of receiving an application.
Further, spouses and partners that are required to travel across a regional border to assist an employee with travel to work (such as to an airport) will be required to obtain an electronic licence.
On 14 November, subject to ongoing health advice, Western Australia transitioned from a hard border to a controlled border. Travellers from all States and Territories in Australia are allowed to enter Western Australia. All travellers will continue to require G2G Passes.
On Tuesday 24 March, the State Government implemented new restrictions and arrival requirements on travel into Western Australia from other Australian states and territories by road, rail, air and sea, in response to COVID-19. Western Australians are no longer allowed to travel overseas unless they fulfil the limited exemption requirements.
The G2G Pass covers interstate travel into Western Australia.
As of Friday June 5, the State Government has lifted all internal regional boundaries, except for areas comprising remote Aboriginal communities.
The Federal and State Governments jointly imposed restrictions on travel to remote Aboriginal communities.
The travel restrictions to 274 remote Aboriginal communities still exist.
There are exemptions for travel for the delivery of essential services, medical, cultural or family reasons (via G2G Pass). There are special exemptions that include mining and food production. Otherwise, travel is not permitted to or through these Aboriginal communities.
The restrictions will be strictly enforced and the WA police will have the power to issue fines of up to $50,000.
After the lockdown ends, FIFO workers can return to interstate travel as normal but must comply with three-day and six-day mask restriction requirements.
Restrictions on travelling to and from Aboriginal land and communities
Mining industry workers may also be subject to restrictions on land subject to native title determinations.
We note that some Aboriginal organisations have sent out information detailing further restrictions they have implemented in respect of COVID-19. For example, some Aboriginal organisations have notified proponents that they will be implementing a permit system to restrict travel across roads subject to native title determinations.
Notes to affected businesses
We recommend that this is something you keep on your radar and are aware of when considering COVID related travel restrictions, as we expect that more Aboriginal organisations will follow suit in the coming days and weeks.
It is crucial that your company understands the State and Federal Government framework and directions. We recommend drafting an internal document which explains how your company is responding to COVID-19 and each of the State and Federal Government directions in relation to COVID-19. There is no obligation to disclose this document externally and there are (as at the date of this update), no reporting obligations on companies’ responses to COVID-19. You need to be aware of the directions and have policies in place documenting how your company is complying with and implementing these directions on site. Most importantly, your company must actually comply with and implement the directions.
These policies should cover:
- FIFO transit protocols;
- FIFO worker testing upon arrival;
- symptoms testing;
- enforcement of government rules;
- hygiene and sanitation;
- physical and social distancing;
- group events and gatherings (such as meals and start-ups);
- dedicated site quarantine areas;
- special disease management;
- risk assessment and mitigation;
- evacuation plans;
- plans to minimise impact on communities;
- support for indigenous communities;
- daily reporting to the Government; and
- designated contact people.
- Good to Go Pass
- Regional Travel Restriction Directions and Maps:
This information is current as of the date of publication (30 September 2021).