PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland government on Tuesday announced that only critical interstate fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) mineworkers will be allowed into Queensland, in an effort to protect remote and regional communities and local mine workforces from the spread of Covid-19.
Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that Queensland would close its borders from midnight Saturday to interstate FIFO workers unless they were critical to a project’s operations.
“As all resources ministers around the country have said, the resources sector is essential to maintaining a strong Australian economy,” he said.
“It is critical that we move now to prevent people who may have been exposed to the virus bringing it to Queensland. Queensland has no known cases in our remote regional communities, and restricting these workers from entering the state will remove a possible transmission route.
“Exempting critical people will ensure that resources projects can continue to produce the mineral and energy resources we need,” Lynham said.
“Most importantly, these critical people will ensure projects operate safely for the workers on site.”
The ban will exempt people critical to operations, including statutory positions specified in legislation. Statutory positions include people responsible for worker health and safety.
The changes do not affect FIFO or drive-in, drive-out workers travelling from within Queensland.
Lynham said most of Queensland’s resources companies had already stepped up their procedures in response to the pandemic.
“Government has been working with industry for some time on protective measures. All resources projects in Queensland are providing a Covid plan for their interstate workers to Queensland Health, and have been requested to prepare plans for their intrastate workers.”
The Western Australian government at the start of this week halted all FIFO from New South Wales, while still allowing staff to fly in from Queensland, which is the biggest source of the state’s FIFO workforce.