COVID-19 updates 

Each week, AgForce dives into the ocean of information about the COVID-19 crisis to bring you the latest advice and information you need to know. 
 
On this page:

Government resources

Obligations of Employers and COVID-19

The obligations of employers in relation to COVID-19 fall under the ongoing requirements of employers to provide a safe place of work and to provide for the health and welfare of workers while at work. Employers need to do whatever is reasonable in the circumstances to meet these obligations. Note that under WHS legislation, employers are required to provide information on WHS to employees.
  • WorkSafe Qld has published a detailed risk management advice with links to other information
  • Queensland Health has all the information needed to answer questions about infection, isolation and quarantine.
  • The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has published a comprehensive guide for employers covering WHS, employment and issues related to the COVID-19 crises.

Government assistance updates

The developing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted governments of all levels to introduce stimulus into the economy and offer businesses advice and assistance to prepare and respond to the unfolding pandemic. Here's what's available:
 
In this last week, the Queensland state government have announced an expansion to the Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme (PIPES), a new $500m package to offer $250,000 to businesses state-wide to provide carry-on finance and retain staff, as well as a payroll tax deferral program announced earlier in the month.
 
The PIPES program had recently reached its cap of $100m for 2019/20, however, we welcome the state government now adding an additional $30m. This is accessible to producers as sustainability loans of up to $1.3m to invest in such things as water infrastructure and drought mitigation measures.
 
The worker support loans expand the current $250,000 loans currently available via QRIDA for drought-affected producers to small and medium-sized businesses state-wide, with the focus on assisting businesses to retain staff.
 
The payroll tax deferral program is designed to allow all Queensland businesses to defer their payroll tax obligations for 6 months
 
To help businesses prevent, prepare, respond, and recover from a pandemic, the Queensland government has put together the “4 phases of pandemic planning”. This resource has valuable information on developing a continuity plan and how to be ready to move into a recovery phase.
 
In addition to financial concerns, many of you may have concerns or questions about your obligations to employees during this time. For more information about COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws, please stay up to date.
 
The Fair Work Ombudsman covers important information for employers during this time, including when you can direct employees to stay away from the workplace, obligations to casual employees or contractors, and what to do if an employee is required to self-isolate."
 
For more information, please call AgForce policy officer, Climate and Agribusiness, Cam Parker on (07) 3236 3100.
 

Industry media

  • The National Farmers Federation “We have your backs” advertising campaign
  • Our media releaseAustralia won’t go hungry while our farmers have our backs, 24 March 2020
  • Royal Flying Doctor Queensland podcast

AgForce events postponed

In view of the health authorities’ recommendations about ‘social distancing’, many agriculture industry events have been postponed or cancelled.
 
To safeguard our members and the community, AgForce has also been looking at all its events on a case-by-case basis to determine which ones should be postponed.
 
In line with current recommendations around COVID-19 and in the best interests of our members, the decision has been made to postpone many upcoming events. 
 
We apologise in advance for any inconvenience but know it is the best interests of members.
 
Keep an eye out for emails from AgForce for updates on what has been postponed.
 
Most importantly, keep yourself and your families safe.