Covid-19 Guide For Growers

COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it have potential to significantly impact your banana farm business.

To assist, ABGC has created a downloadable Guide for Banana Growers on COVID-19 (Guide) which provides advice to growers on how to mitigate the risks and other important information.

To download and print a copy of the Guide, click on the link above.

ABGC has compiled this based on information available regarding COVID-19 from on-going meetings with Federal and State Government representatives, and with the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Horticulture Council.

ABGC is also involved with several Government working groups which are developing practical solutions to COVID-19 issues facing growers.

This information is provided as current best-practice guide only. It does not constitute legal advice, or advice from a qualified medical professional. The purpose of this Guide is to provide one central source of information.

Please be aware that the situation is changing rapidly and that this Guide may need to be further revised.

ABGC will continually provide latest COVID-19 updates that affect industry on this dedicated COVID-19 page. See these updates below.

We will also continue to send out regular updates via our e-bulletins.  The situation is very fluid and to stay informed it is important that you read all e-bulletins sent out.

Any queries on the information in this Guide, please contact Jim Pekin, CEO, Australian Banana Growers’ Council:  Jim.pekin@abgc.org.au or phone  0447 799 667.

Latest COVID-19 news

Health Management Plans

The Queensland Government has introduced a new direction that commenced at 12:01 am on Tuesday 5 May, 2020 relating to the agriculture sectors being able to access a seasonal workforce, while still meeting their COVID-19 public health obligations.

The main change is that Health Management Plans are now required when farms and other agribusiness operations, including labour hire companies employ seasonal workers.

These plans are also required of accommodation providers for seasonal workers and transport providers for these people.

A template for the Health Management Plan for employers of seasonal workers is available here:

https://abgc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/health-management-plan-template-workplace.pdf

A signed version needs to be submitted to this email address covid.plans@health.qld.gov.au

This new direction is designed to protect farm businesses, their employees and the local community from the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

The Health Management Plan Flowchart summarises the various scenarios. 

A copy is available here:

https://abgc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/agribusiness-commercial-fishing-employers-flowchart4.pdf

Under this new Qld Government direction, seasonal worker means all workers who do not return to their usual place of residence each day. 

Technically the definition of a seasonal worker is:

An employee or contractor who usually resides outside of Queensland who:

  • holds a letter of appointment from an employer; and
  • travels to Queensland to work in agribusiness or commercial fishing; and
  • travels on an itinerant basis within Queensland to meet seasonal labour needs; or

An employee or contractor who usually resides in Queensland who:

  • holds a letter of appointment from an employer; and
  • travels on an itinerant basis within Queensland to work on a farm or other agribusiness operation to meet seasonal labour needs; and
  • does not return to their usual place of residence in Queensland each day.

More information on these changes are available online for businesses, including templates for the health management plans here 

Information has also been developed for seasonal workers, including temporary visa holders, on their requirements and is available here 

Farmers and labour hire companies employing seasonal workers are advised to consider the detail of the direction made effective 5 May.

The link below provides detailed frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the direction.

Employment

There are a number of useful government and industry resources to help job seekers looking for employment and growers looking for more workers. Click on the links below for the latest information.

Safe Food Queensland

Safe Food Queensland (Safe Food) has developed a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help food businesses manage the impacts of COVID-19.

The FAQs can be viewed here