State News

Ag workers can now carpool

Workers in rural and regional NSW can now carpool to and from work in a COVID-safe way following an amendment to the NSW Government’s Public Health Orders.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said living and working in rural and remote areas is very different from city living and due to the tyranny of distance carpooling is often essential to get to and from work.

“Living in regional communities and working in ag industries that underpin them presents a unique set of logistical challenges, including having to travel vast distances,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The NSW Government has taken community feedback onboard and made this COVID-safe change to help primary industries overcome barriers created by this virus.”

Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall said this exemption would help the agricultural industry prepare for worker movement ahead of a predicted record harvest.

“I have heard of abattoir workers, shearers and fruit pickers not being able to get to work as they don’t have a car or a licence, which will have a profound flow-on effect for the agricultural supply chain,” Mr Marshall said.

“This exemption will be of huge benefit to these workers, our sector and the economy, while still promoting public health and safety.”

The exemption applies to rural and regional NSW residents who have not been in Greater Sydney in the previous 14 days. Workers will also need to have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or be booked in to receive it before Friday, 10 September.

To ensure health and safety, employers and employees must:

  • Use a vehicle that has been arranged by an employer for the transport of staff to and from home and work,
  • Workers must sign in through a Service NSW app, which are available to businesses and employers online, when entering the vehicle,
  • Wear a face mask at all times, and
  • Where practicable, keep windows down and circulate outside air.

For more information, visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/home/covid-19.

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