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New Moves on COVID-19 Border and Health Measures

Victoria’s recent mandate from 11.59pm on Wednesday, July 22, will require people to wear a face covering, including "if you are driving for work, such as deliveries", the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) clarifies.

On the Victoria-NSW border, Road Freight New South Wales (RFNSW) notes from midnight Tuesday, July 21, a border zone, defined along the Murray River, will be established.

Entry to NSW from Victoria will be restricted, and exemptions for NSW residents travelling from the Victorian side of the border zone will be limited further.

Permits issued up until the commencement of the border zone will expire at midnight July 21.

Operators that remain eligible under the new rules will need to apply for a new permit.

Those travelling from Victoria to Queensland, will need a NSW border entry permit and a QLD border declaration pass.

"Road Freight NSW has been told that the new border permits are being worked through the Health Ministry and we would strongly suggest that you examine your and implement your COVID Safety Plans in the interim," RFNSW CEO Simon O’Hara notes.

"There may be a requirement for face masks.

"So, I would suggest that you do the necessary in these circumstances for your drivers in anticipation. 

"As we understand it, this is a fast moving situation and industry will need to re-apply for border permits given that there are new requirements."

Furthermore, any freight operator permitted to enter WA using a G2G Pass who has been in Victoria or NSW during the previous 14 days will be served with a notice on arrival requiring them to take a Covid-19 test on day 11 of their time in Western Australia or at any point when symptoms develop. Previously this was only a requirement for Victoria.

Finally, last week in Queensland, the state’s chief health officer Jeannette Young wrote to the freight and logistics industry asking for its cooperation in its efforts to control the pandemic.

"As you may be aware there are currently Covid-19 hotspots across New South Wales and Victoria, the latter of which has reported cases of Covid-19 connected with distribution centres. The movement of freight and logistics drivers in and out of Covid-19 hotspots represents a potential transmission risk for these persons and the broader community. Given the critical function served by our freight and logistics drivers in supporting the ongoing functioning of Australia, I understand that it is not practical to require these persons to quarantine when moving in and out of Covid-19 hotspots. In order to protect both the drivers and our community, I would encourage all freight and logistics operators to require their drivers who are entering Queensland from a Covid-19 hotspot to be tested for and receive a negative last result for Covid-19 dated within 7 days of their arrival in Queensland, and maintain a weekly testing regime while they continue to travel into and out of Covid-19 hotspots be tested if they develop any symptoms consistent with Covid-19. including cough shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or loss of taste, retain records of the testing, which may be requested by an emergency officer (public health)."

"The above testing approach seeks to contribute to positive health outcomes for your drivers and our community. We must work together to respond to Covid-19 and testing has proven to be an effective measure in managing the spread of infection. I would also hope that this testing approach would provide a measure of comfort to your drivers given their transit through Covid-19 hotspots as their health and wellbeing is important to the Queensland Governor."