To support the COVID-19 response, we are liaising with and gathering intelligence from key stakeholders involved in Western Australia’s primary production and food supply chain, including Regional Development Commissions, state government agencies, peak industry bodies and the food processing sector to:
- support business continuity measures
- reduce potential impacts of COVID-19
- plan for a return to business as usual once the crisis has passed.
Sector leads and key contacts
If you have a query in relation to a specific area, please contact:
- Grains: Kerry Regan – email@example.com
- Food and meat processing: Nicki Hall – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Livestock: Julia Smith – email@example.com
- Horticulture: Rohan Prince – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fisheries and aquaculture: Nathan Harrison – email@example.com
- Trade and freight: Joan Lim – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Workforce: Brad Armstrong – email@example.com
- Food service and hospitality: Deb Pett – firstname.lastname@example.org and Melissa Worthington –email@example.com
To protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, we are adopting state and federal government health recommendations with respect to social distancing and good hygiene. We are also putting plans in place to ensure our business continuity.
For more information and support during COVID-19, please visit the:
Securing labour supplyShow more
Based on health advice, the WA Government is introducing new measures to help WA’s agricultural and horticultural industry fill critical labour gaps.
To help WA primary industries navigate the immediate shortfall, the WA Government has formed a team dedicated to supporting these industries on workforce matters during these challenging times.
The team can:
• provide advice and assistance to primary industry G2G PASS applicants through our case management services. Primary industries businesses and employees are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for support in developing applications to seek approval for entry into WA;
• work collaboratively with industries on innovative approaches to build a more resilient local workforce into the future.
For more information, email Brad Armstrong at email@example.com
The new measures build on the Paid Escape campaign and regional worker incentives on offer, with local workers still required for WA growers.
The Regional Agriculture, Tourism and Hospitality Workers Travel and Accommodation Support Scheme is available to assist with relocation to the regions. The scheme can provide $280 a week in accommodation support for up to 12 weeks for eligible workers who move more than 100km for employment. Find out more about the travel and accommodation support scheme.
In addition, the WA Government is committed to working with industry in progressing the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme. Find out more about becoming an approved employer under this Commonwealth coordinated programme via https://www.palmscheme.gov.au/
COVID-19 safeguards for WHMsShow more
Working Holiday Makers must follow the same guidelines to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in Western Australia that apply to all other people in the state. If you don't, you may receive a penalty. You can also find information about the rules in languages other than English.
Working Holiday Makers will be expected to:
- learn about safety measures in place in the workplace to minimise the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus
- secure accommodation of a standard to allow for appropriate physical distancing and hygiene practices
- give employers the address of their accommodation
- (if employed in agriculture), sign an employee-employer declaration form acknowledging they understand their obligations.
If a WHM accepts an offer of employment in the agriculture sector with onsite accommodation provided by the employer, it is the WHM's responsibility to practice physical distancing at the accommodation and in the workplace.
Safeguards for employers
If a WHM is offered agricultural employment that includes onsite accommodation provided by the employer, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the on-farm accommodation is of a standard to allow for appropriate physical distancing and hygiene practices.
COVID-19 health management plans
The state government expects agricultural and food businesses to implement COVID-19 health management plans as part of their Occupational Health and Safety responsibility. These plans should clarify the obligations of both employer and employee in mitigating risk and outline what to do should a COVID-19 outbreak occur.
In developing a plan, consider:
- physical distancing
- health checks and quarantine
- how to clean your premises
- personal hygiene
- use of personal protective equipment
- interactions with the public
- consultation and communication with workers.
For guidance in developing your plan, see:
- the WA Department of Health guidance on Food Safety and COVID-19
- Safe Work Australia’s COVID-19 Guidance for the agriculture industry
- Safe Work Australia’s COVID-19 Guidance for the food processing and manufacturing industry, including meat, dairy, seafood and fruit and vegetable processing.
Declaration of understanding
The state government expects WHM employees and their employers to sign an employee-employer declaration form confirming they understand and will follow the protocols in place in the COVID-19 Health Management Plan.
COVID-19 and your businessShow more
We will continue to provide stakeholders with relevant information and support in what is a fast-changing environment.
Businesses should also contact their industry representative bodies if they have specific questions related to their operations.
Interactive COVID-19 resources
- CEDA online events
- South West Smart Hub resources
- WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry resources
- Webinars and other resources from RSM
General COVID-19 resources and information
- Advice from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
- Advice from the National Farmers Federation
- Dairy Australia updates and advice
- Information from the Cattle Council of Australia
- Coronavirus and food safety from Food Standards Australia-New Zealand
- Food safety and Covid-19 from the Department of Health
- Information from the Restaurant and Catering Industry Australia
Community and not-for-profit
- Australian Government information on assistance for exporters
- Australian Government support for businesses
- Business support from Austrade
- Information and support from the Australian Tax Office
- International freight assistance information from Austrade
- Support information from the Small Business Development Corporation
COVID-19 and the grains industryShow more
We are committed to ensuring that the WA grains industry can navigate the COVID-19 situation with as little disruption to businesses as possible.
We established the COVID-19 Grains Industry Forum to provide for two-way communication between government and key industry stakeholders to facilitate industry continuity.
The grains group has approximately 55 members covering the grains industry supply chain, from grains research and development, inputs (chemical, fertiliser and seed), transport, storage and handling, processing, machinery, through to export and trade, and includes other stakeholders such as consultants, industry groups and government.
The group is supported by the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia (GIWA).
COVID-19 resources and references
- Grain Growers Limited resource guide
- Grower Group Alliance resources
- Information from the Australian Government on food security and agriculture
- Information from the Grain Industry Association of WA
- Information from the National Farmers Federation
- Information from Worksafe WA
- Resources from Safe Work Australia
For further information, please contact:
Director, Grains, Primary Industries Development
Policy Officer, Grains, Primary Industries Development
Information for the fishing industryShow more
In line with the WA Government’s Safe Transition Plan, a number of industries and occupations are required to be vaccinated to attend work in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions.
The WA Government’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy is based on health advice, which is determined on the likelihood of the worker being exposed to COVID-19 and the risk of spreading the virus, particularly to vulnerable groups. The broader public health impacts of an outbreak in a particular cohort of people has also been considered.
The vaccination policy is a phased approach encompassing a wide range of occupations and workforces in Western Australia, which reflects the public health risk in this State at the time of the imposing of requirements. The advice will be reviewed if the situation evolves and requires adjustments to the mandate. WA has consistently followed the public health advice and further inclusions to the industries mandated could be considered to better protect the community.
The mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy is enforced through Public Health Directions (Directions) implemented for public health reasons, based on emergency powers under the Public Health Act 2016.
Information and FAQs
The WA Government has published extensive information to support the mandatory vaccination policy including the Mandatory Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions document, which contains relevant information for both employees and employers.
The document also links to the:
Mandatory vaccination where no direction applies
If there is not a Direction in place for a particular workplace, then whether an employer can require an employee to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to access that Page 2 of 2 workplace is likely to depend on the specific situation. An employer can give an employee a lawful and reasonable direction. Whether an employer’s direction requiring an employee to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is considered lawful and reasonable will depend on the circumstances. Employers are encouraged to seek independent legal advice on their specific situations.
There are a range of factors that may be considered in determining whether a direction to an employee is reasonable, including:
- any public health orders or Directions of the State or Federal Government which are in place at a particular time
- whether a law, a WA award or registered agreement or an employment contract allows an employer to require an employee to be vaccinated against COVID-19
- an employer’s duties under workplace health and safety laws
- the type of work being performed by an employee
- the nature of the workplace and
- an employee’s specific circumstances, including whether an employee has a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated (for example, a medical reason).
Where an employer decides to introduce changes that are likely to have significant effects on employees, it is important that the employer consults their employees.
Further information on COVID-19 vaccinations within the private sector can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.
COVID-19 impact on fishing operations
In the event that significant cases occur in Western Australia it is possible that fishers may be unable to meet some statutory obligations.
Should a commercial fisher contract COVID-19 or visit an exposure site, advice from the Department of Health should be followed. If you are required to isolate and unable to retrieve or check gear in the water within mandatory timeframes, please contact your local compliance office, as soon as possible.
Compliance officers will discuss alternative arrangements for the gear to be retrieved (e.g. another operator), or left in the water until you have recovered and can safely retrieve the gear.