NSW will shortly amend its public health orders to include the agricultural workers code and ensure an upcoming bumper harvest in the state can come to fruition.
Agricultural workers travelling between NSW and Victoria will need a permit and relevant identification and will be required to use PPE as appropriate.
Travelling workers will also need to keep records of their movements and agricultural employers need to support workers to perform self-isolation in the first 14 days after entry into NSW and have COVID-safe plans.
"Our farmers have just come out of the worst drought on record, and they are now poised to begin their recovery with the largest winter crop harvest since 2016," NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said.
"They need the workforce to take advantage of that."
Agricultural worker permits will be available from www.service.nsw.gov.au from Friday.
The Victorian government doesn't need to write the code into its public health orders because travel by agriculture workers into Victoria hasn't been restricted.
"NSW is an agriculture production powerhouse and the agricultural workers' code enables the state's farmers to be the launching pad for NSW to commence recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"The code means that farmers from Warialda to Wagga can get the best skilled workers to help them with this year's harvest, regardless if they're from Queensland, South Australia, Victoria or the Northern Territory."
Member for Albury Justin Clancy said: "Albury electorate farmers make a vital contribution to the state's $15.9 billion primary industries sector, and to the local community and our regional economy.
"It's great to have this news heading into the harvest season, which will allow the free movement of agricultural workers with permits across state borders.
"The NSW government has spearheaded the discussion on this issue."
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT AG PERMITS
What is the Agricultural Worker Permit?
The NSW Agricultural Worker Permit allows eligible Agricultural Workers to travel between NSW and Victoria under strict conditions.
Who does is apply to?
An agricultural worker means a person who performs an agricultural industry activity and includes a seasonal worker performing an agricultural industry activity.
This includes forestry, farming activities related to agriculture, intensive agriculture production, horticulture, veterinary services, operation of saleyards, agriculture related transport and freight, fibre manufacturing and food safety and verification services.
A detailed list of inclusions will be available on the NSW Government website www.nsw.gov.au
Any areas are excluded?
If you have been in an COVID-19 restricted area or area of concern in the last 14 days you are not eligible for a NSW Agricultural Worker Permit.
Do I have to travel via Sydney Airport?
No, the NSW Agricultural Worker Permit allows people to drive directly from their location to their place of work.
Will there be a specific COVID-19 Safety Plan for the industry?
Yes. The plan will be available on the NSW Government website from 12.01am Friday, 25 September 2020.
This new plan will have special requirements in relation to staff wellbeing, social distancing, accommodation hygiene and record keeping.
What are the COVIDSafe requirements of the permit?
There is a specific COVID-19 Safety Plan required for the NSW Agricultural Worker Permit.
The Safety Plan has specific requirements in relation to the wellbeing of staff, physical distancing and self-isolation, hygiene and cleaning, accommodation, travel, record keeping, and protocols should a worker develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Permit holders are required to self-isolate while not at work for 14 days after arrival in NSW.
How do I apply for a permit?
You can apply for a NSW Agricultural Worker Permit from the NSW Government website www.nsw.gov.au from 21.01am on Friday.
The Head of the Organisation is still required to register for unique number for each worker. This unique number is required in order for the worker to apply for their permit.
What happens to my existing permit?
Your existing critical agriculture worker related permit will remain valid and from September 25 take on the new conditions until it's expiry. Upon expiry, you will then apply for the new permit.
You will be required to complete the new COVID-19 Business Safety Plan.