COVID-19 support for our primary industries

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is continuing to work with industry, government and regional stakeholders to provide support and information during the COVID-19 response.

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:

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.

More information

For more information and support during COVID-19, please visit the:

Securing labour supply

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New measures to help fill critical labour gaps for this season’s harvest.

Based on health advice, the WA Government is introducing new measures to help WA’s agricultural and horticultural industry fill critical labour gaps for this season’s harvest.

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:

For more information, email Jackie Jarvis, the department’s Industry Capacity and Workforce Manager, at workforce@dpird.wa.gov.au

The new measures build on the Work and Wander out Yonder campaign and regional worker incentives on offer, with local workers still required for WA growers. 

The Primary Industries Workers Regional 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 workers who move more than 100km for employment. Find out more about the travel and accommodation support scheme

In addition, the WA Government has committed to work with industry to progress with a pilot restart of the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).

The pilot program will allow the recruitment of a limited number of SWP and PLS workers into WA via an appropriate quarantine process.

COVID-19 safeguards for WHMs

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Working Holiday Makers and employers must adhere to COVID-19 risk mitigation measures and rules.

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:

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 business

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Resources and information for WA agricultural and food production businesses.

COVID-19 and the grains industry

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Information and resources for farmers and others in the WA grains industry.

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 

Contact 

For further information, please contact:

Kerry Regan
Director, Grains - Primary Industries Development
kerry.regan@dpird.wa.gov.au

Alex Edward
Acting Principal Policy Officer 
Primary Industries Development 
alex.edward@dpird.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 18 December 2020