South Australia clamps down on travel restrictions

South Australia has warned that Victoria’s mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sector is likely to face disruptions following changes to the former’s COVID-19 travel rules.

These were enforced earlier this week, with movement between South Australia and Victoria to be kept at the “minimum commercial level”, following Victoria’s recent spike in COVID-19 infections.

Authorisation to return to South Australia will be given to specialist workers in essential sectors, such as mining.

Mining operations must have infection prevention control protocols that have been reviewed by South Australia; demonstrate the service is time critical; show the skills are not available in South Australia or another jurisdiction that does not have active border controls; and show that the person must be physically present to complete the service required.

However, all inbound energy and mining workers from Victoria are required to complete 14 days quarantine and adhere to compulsory testing, even if they are returning to continue working.

South Australia Police stated those given a permit to return to the state could undertake mandatory quarantine in locations with other people not quarantined as long as the inbound worker was separated from those people.

According to the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining, “This change is likely to significantly impact METS businesses and  will prompt commercial decisions about whether, and how, opportunities in Victoria can be fulfilled in the near term.

“As this condition can be difficult to implement in family and other settings, employers must help educate workers on the risks to their families and the sector for failing to comply with quarantine measures.”

Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive-out (DIDO) workers from New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory who are reporting to remote locations will be approved to enter South Australia if they show evidence of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within the previous seven days.

Workers that provide commercial transport and freight services must provide evidence of a COVID-19 test result in the preceding seven days.

The changes also require “specialist workers in essential sectors” to self quarantine when not working, maintain contact records and wear surgical masks when engaging in public interactions.

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