The AMS acknowledges the significant impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on communities and individuals across the world. Our thoughts are with you, your families and communities during this time of uncertainty.
We will continue to support our members and industry by providing updates and information via our regular channels (emails & Enews) and updating this page as often as possible. However, to ensure you receive regular, timely updates in a fast-moving crisis situation, we suggest joining the AMS Facebook group now. (To join the group, you must be an AMS member or registered as a levy payer with the AMS).
Friday 8 May 2020
SEQ AND SUNWATER IRRIGIATION PRICING
There will be no irrigation price rises for QLD farmers next financial year and any price decreases recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority will be passed on.
The Queensland Government will subsidise around $15 million in costs to supply water for irrigation by Sunwater and Seqwater. This approach is consistent with the temporary relief measures being provided to other QLD businesses impacted by COVID-19 at this time. Irrigation prices are set following a review process involving the state’s independent regulator, the Queensland Competition Authority. Read more...
Wednesday 6 May 2020
NEW SAFEWORK AUSTRALIA RESOURCE
To help establish a safe return to work for Australia, the government has launched a new SafeWork Australia website information resource. The resource includes a search tool so that information can be easily found for specific industries (e.g. agriculture) and on specific topics. It's a very comprehensive summary and worth taking a look. Read more...
Tuesday 5 May 2020
UPDATED FACT SHEET: QLD members, please see this updated fact sheet with FAQs for employers of seasonal workers during COVID-19. It covers the new public health direction—Seasonal Workers Health Management Plan Direction— which is effective 12:01 am on Tues 5 May 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency in relation to COVID-19. Read more..
EMPLOYING SEASONAL WORKERS IN AGRIBUSINESS: COVID-19
The QLD Government has introduced a new framework that will enable the agriculture and commercial fishing sectors to access a seasonal workforce, while still meeting their COVID-19 public health obligations. These changes align with the National Cabinet decision to support agriculture and secure Australia’s food supplies. The framework consists of five key elements:
Stronger border protections – all seasonal workers entering QLD who have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to commencing work at an agribusiness or commercial fishing operation.
More info on these changes are available online for businesses, including templates for the health management plans HERE. Info has also been developed for seasonal workers, including temporary visa holders, on their requirements, read more HERE.
Wednesday 29 April 2020
QLD’S ANNUAL HARVEST SEASON CAN GO AHEAD SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY DURING COVID-19
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has assured growers they can maintain a seasonal workforce while meeting their COVID-19 public health obligations. She said the industry needed clarity about managing an incoming workforce, particularly backpackers, at an important time of year. Read more...
Friday 24 April 2020
NSW DPI PRIMARY INDUSTRIES LIAISON TEAM
NSW DPI has established a COVID-19 Primary Industries Liaison Team to help primary producers navigate the challenges and impacts of COVID-19 on their business and industry. You can contact the team by emailing email@example.com to discuss your individual business or industry circumstances. Also see the NSW DPI's COVID-19 web page here.
Thursday 23 April 2020
CORONAVIRUS MENTAL WELL BEING SERVICE
In support of mental health at this difficult time, the Australian Government has announced a new Beyond Blue coronavirus mental wellbeing service. You can access this via the website https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/ or 1800 512 348.
WEBINAR: WH&S STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE COVID-19
If you missed the third business continuity planning (BCP) webinar last week you can watch it now.
Wednesday 22 April 2020
CYBER SECURITY THREATS
COVID-19 cyber security threats are increasing and members are urged to be careful when using online collaboration and video tools, installing software or providing their personal information and banking details over the internet. Learn how to protect yourself or your business, or report malicious cyber activity at https://www.cyber.gov.au
QLD AGRICULTURE COORDINATION OFFICERS
Queensland Agriculture has appointed new Agriculture Coordination Officers to support producers, the agriculture industry and local governments to manage COVID-19.
Approximately 100 regional economic development, extension, research and biosecurity staff are available to ensure rapid assistance across the state.
Support includes assisting producers and industry to access relevant information quickly without having to navigate a myriad of websites and in some cases with limited or no connectivity.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with an officer or call the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.
Monday 20 April 2020
FINANCIAL RESILIENCE WEBINARS
Attention growers in Wide Bay Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Far North and North QLD: TAFE Queensland is hosting financial resilience webinars focusing on strategies for your small business in response to Covid-19. Webinars are specific to your region and fully funded by the QLD government at no cost to you. More info can be found HERE.
Tuesday 14 April 2020
LAND RESTORATION FUND
The deadline to submit applications for Land Restoration Fund has been extended to 29 April. Read more...
MORE INFORMATION ON SUPPLY CHAIN AND LOGISTICS
A reminder about the international freight support measures announced by the federal government. More information here. The links below will guide you to information about border crossings, travel restrictions and PPE supply.
NEW INFORMATION ON WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
Safe Food Queensland released a guideline this week for reducing workforce impacts related to COVID-19. It is available from: Safe Food website. Safe Work Australia also published a workplace checklist to help employers identify how they can keep their workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers can download copies from: Safe Work Australia website.
NEW INFORMATION ON BACKPACKERS AND VISAS
The Federal Government announced the extension of work visas. Read the media release here. A national communication working group has been established, chaired by DAF, to ensure consistent and targeted messages are communicated regarding backpackers. Supply issues and available services to match displaced workers is still an issue, as is backpackers and seasonal workers showing up to a farm. It is essential that both producers and seasonal workers register their work needs at: Harvest Trail.
BUSINESS CONTINUITY WEBINAR - THUR 16 APRIL
The next business continuity planning (BCP) webinar presented by BDO Australia and Queensland Agriculture will be held this Thur 16 April at 2pm. During this webinar BDO will provide an in-depth example of food and agribusiness BCP. Following the presentation, there will be a live Q&A around specific BCP questions you have or issues you are facing. Read more...
Thursday 9 April 2020
NEW RESOURCE: COVID-19: National Farmers Federation Workplace Guide
The National Farmers’ Federation Workplace Guide contains basic advice on managing the impact on farming workplaces, including relevant work health and safety and industrial relations considerations. The Guide is intended to facilitate thinking and decision making about the health and safety of people on farm, including family and workers, and ongoing job and business security and continuity… More…
Wednesday 8 April 2020
STILL TIME TO APPLY FOR DROUGHT ASSISTANCE
Queensland primary producers will have extra time to lodge drought assistance claims and are being urged to apply electronically due to the impact of COVID-19 on claim processing times.
Producers wanting to discuss their applications should contact the Department HERE .
Tuesday 7 April 2020
NSW FOOD AUTHORITY ADVICE
The NSW Food Authority has advice for both businesses and consumers on its website: HERE
SAFE FOOD QUEENSLAND GUIDELINE
Safe Food Queensland has developed a guideline for agricultural, horticultural operations and meat and livestock processing operations to help businesses frame and understand the risks in their workforce and to describe the measures that can be implemented when any of these risks are realised. This has been developed on behalf of the Queensland Agriculture Coordination Group – Workplace Health and Safety Working Group. A Checklist for Reducing Workforce Impact from COVID-19 has also been developed to support these Guidelines.
The Guidelines can be downloaded here
The Checklist can be downloaded here
Monday 6 April 2020
TEMPORARY VISA MEASURES: Here are links to 2 new facts sheets re the temporary visa measures announced yesterday:
NSW FARMERS FAQ’s FACTSHEET: This factsheet answers some of the key Covid-19 questions being asked by members, including: Can I test employees’ temperatures? Can we still have toolbox meetings at work? Can I still go out of my farm to attend to work related activities (such as purchasing of supplies or machinery repair) and Can more than 2 people be in a vehicle for work purposes? Read it here.
Saturday 4 April 2020
MANAGING AGRICULTURE WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS
Queensland depends on its farmers and producers, and keeping these industries strong during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a key priority. Read more...
BREAKING: Government has announced temporary changes to visas to sure-up farm labour and keep regional communities safe. See the statement here.
KEY FACTS: TEMPORARY VISA ARRANGEMENTS
Temporary changes to visa arrangements have been announced to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19. Read more...
Friday 3 April 2020
QLD GROWERS URGED NOT TO FORGET DROUGHT ASSISTANCE
Queensland primary producers will have extra time to lodge drought assistance claims and are being urged to apply electronically due to the impact of COVID-19 on claim processing times. Producers wanting to discuss their applications should contact email@example.com.
PERMITS NOW ESSENTIAL FOR ALL TRAVEL TO QLD
Queensland border restrictions will be tightened across the state from 12.01am tomorrow morning (Friday, April 3). People with an exemption must have a border pass prior to crossing the border. If they don’t have a pass they will be turned around. Apply for a border pass at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass. For more information on restrictions and exemptions - https://www.qld.gov.au/about/newsroom/queenslandborder-restrictions.
Wednesday 1 April 2020
LATEST ON BORDER CROSSING REGULATIONS
Everyone must have evidence of their employer, Evidence of their work site, Evidence of the start and finish date AND a health management plan. The situation may change again in the next few days. Click for more details.
SECOND BDO AUSTRALIA & QLD AGRICULTURE WEBINAR
Register for the second BDO Australia and Queensland Agriculture webinar, which is on tomorrow, Thur 2 April, 2-3pm: BDO’s Business Continuity Planning expert, Mark Cushing, and Food & Agribusiness Executive Director, Margaux Beauchamp, will provide insights and updates on the current state of COVID-19 on the agriculture sector, discuss practical approaches and strategies to documenting your business continuity planning and finish with a live Q&A to answer your questions and share issues you’re facing. Read more...
Tuesday 31 March 2020
AMS UPDATE: More details on the Jobkeeper payment program and examples of how the subsidy may be applied can be found in this fact sheet.
MESSAGE FROM GROWCOM: Consider your workforce needs now, advertise jobs early, and fill out the Horticulture Labour Forecast now.
Monday 30 March 2020
JOB KEEPER STIMULUS PAYMENT
Businesses will receive a fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1,500 per employee as part of a Federal Government bid to prevent millions of people from losing their jobs to the Coronavirus pandemic. Read more here. Growers and macadamia businesses wanting to register for the payment to retain employees can register their intention via the ATO website here.
FARM HUB: COVID-19 FAQ'S AND OTHER KEY INFO
FAQ's and other key information on the COVID-19 is now live on Farm Hub. Read more...
MANUFACTURER'S SUPPLY MATCHING REQUEST FORM (QLD)
If you are finding it difficult to obtain vital materials and supplies to remain open, the QLD Government now has a web form where you can register your supply needs as well as manufacturing capability. The Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning will look to match supply and demand. Read more...
Friday 27 March 2020
COVID-19 PERSONAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
We recommend that you require all workers to fill in a worker disclosure form before starting work on your farm. Click here for the template.
WHAT STIMULUS ARE YOU ENTITLED TO? AND BUSINESS BANK LOANS
The Federal Government has flagged that additional stimulus measures will be required but what does the current Stage 1 & 2 packages that have passed parliament mean for you? A summary and in-depth information for business and individuals. Read more...
AMS UPDATE: We recommend that you require all workers to fill in a worker disclosure form before starting work on your farm. Find the template HERE.
Thursday 26 March 2020
FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY INCIDENT MANAGEMENT - ADDITIONAL MEASURES DURING ADVERSE EVENTS
Freshcare has developed a number of resources to highlight additional measures that may need to be considered to ensure businesses remain focused on delivering safe, quality fresh produce through out the supply chain. Read more...
AMS UPDATE: The AMS is linked into key working groups at the national and state levels to ensure industry issues are tabled and we can get information to members and macadamia levy payers as it comes to hand. AMS CEO Jolyon Burnett outlines a number of updates and other matters following a briefing with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. Read more...
QUEENSLAND BORDER RESTRICTIONS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Queensland Government is implementing restricted entry to Queensland from 12:01am on Thursday, 26 March 2020. This page includes a list of frequently asked questions and links to more information. Read more...
CONTINUITY PLANNING AND MANAGING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION
Queensland Farmers Federation will deliver a series of webinars over the coming weeks to provide expert support to help minimise the COVID-19 impact on industry and lead discussions on the key issues as they unfold. The first webinar will take place today from 1.00-2.00pm. Read more...
We have been asked a number of questions including:
Will government shut growers/processors/dehusking facilities down?
NO. All governments have assured us that all businesses involved in agriculture are exempt from shut down provisions. They tell us this will not change but there are no certainties at this time. Keep checking this FB page for any changes.
Will government shutdown allied services – eg machinery shops etc
NO. The answer is the same as above. Any business that supplies a farming enterprise is exempt from the shut down (although some may choose to close or restrict business hours).
Will this stop us accessing world markets?
Minister Littleproud assured us today that all ports were operating on a business as usual basis and would for as long as possible. He said there may be delays and restrictions to air freight. The Minister said they have contingency plans in place to keep exports flowing should things change but did not detail them.
He went on to say that this may be an opportunity for Australian exports to grow as we show the world we can be a reliable, consistent supplier of food in troubled times.
Will it drive the price down?
This is a conversation you should have with your processor.
The government has moved to assure Queenslanders the movement of agricultural goods will continue and transportation of produce will not be impacted by localised lockdowns or heightened interstate border restrictions. Read more...
Tuesday 24 March 2020
AMS UPDATE: The AMS has received personal assurance from NSW Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall that primary industry production and related businesses and the entire food supply chain are NOT impacted by the new Covid-19 restrictions. These businesses can continue to operate on a ‘business as usual’ basis, though should attempt to practice appropriate social distancing measures. He says: “Primary Industries are critical to our State and Australia and the effort of every government to grapple with the developing coronavirus pandemic. Just as important is the freight industry which delivers our primary produce from the paddock or ocean to consumers’ plates.”
NSW FARMERS COVID-19 UPDATE: STAGE 2 STIMULUS PACKAGE
The Federal Government’s Stage 2 stimulus package includes an extra $66.1 billion in stimulus measures, taking the total package in response to the Covid-19 crisis to $189 billion. A business hotline for SMEs impacted by Covid-19 will now be available seven days per week, operating 7am – 11pm AEST. The hotline is 13 28 46. Click here to read the summary and more...
AMS UPDATE: Peak industry hort and ag bodies, including the AMS, are working with the State and federal governments to ensure food supply chains are listed as an essential service under the Covid-19 response. Until further advice, macadamia production, processing & distribution services can continue. Members should strictly implement the necessary social distancing & sanitising measures, and any other changes in line with government guidelines.
NSW DPI CONCIERGE SERVICE: To assist industry with a clear flow of information, the NSW DPI have established a concierge service for issues related to COVID-19. This will be up and operational TODAY at noon via www.dpi.nsw.gov.au. Or you can get in touch with the concierge service by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
OBLIGATIONS TOWARDS YOUR EMPLOYEES SHOULD THEY BE AFFECTED BY COVID-19
A brief discussion document on a range of circumstances businesses may face due to COVID-19 outbreak. Read more...
LOST YOUR JOB DUE TO CORONAVIRUS? HERE'S WHERE TO GET HELP
We know, understandably, macadamia businesses are worried about the workers they may have to let go at this time. The advice is to ensure the worker applies for Centrelink Jobseeker Payment. This website also offers several other useful suggestions if people find themselves unemployed. Read more....
FARMHUB: KEY INFORMATION AND UPDATES
This page contains information on basic health advice, mental health and wellbeing, the Federal Government Stimulus Package, individual state and territory assistance, business assistance, and frequently asked questions (FAQ’s). Read more...
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Small business employers with fewer than 20 full-time employees will be able to apply for a 50 per cent subsidy of their current apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for up to 9 months from 1 Jan to 30 Sept 2020. The subsidy will also be available to a new employer who hires a trainee or apprentice who was not able to be retained by their prior employer. Click here for further information.
FAIR FARMS WEBINAR: Workplace issues in context of the coronavirus
Australia is currently bracing for the impact of coronavirus, but how do growers protect their workers and ensure supply chains remain open? The webinar will be held Wednesday 25 march, 3.00-4.00pm. Read more...
HORT CONNECTIONS 2020 POSTPONED
Hort Connections top priority is the health and safety of the industry that provides fresh produce for Australia and New Zealand. As such Hort Connections 2020 has been postponed. Mark your calendars for Hort Connections 2021 which will be held from 7-9 June 2021 in Brisbane.
COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS): RESOURCES FOR BUSINESS AND THE COMMUNITY
Organisations and employers who are responsible for a workplace or venue should start to take actions now to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus. More information and resources regarding your responsibilities can be found here.
This website has been partly funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.