Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions

WITH Western Australia locking down its external borders and also restricting movement within the state, some steps are being taken to help mine workers get to where they need to be.
Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions Dealing with WA's hard border FIFO restrictions

Travel restrictions are making it more difficult to move workers around and into WA.

Australia's Mining Monthly is making some of its most important coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic freely available to readers. For more coverage, please see our COVID-19 hub. To subscribe to AMM, click here.

At midnight on April 5 WA's border got hard, creating a restriction for fly-in, fly-out workers that will only allow them to relocate to WA to fulfil their employment.

FIFO workers have an exemption that allows them to enter the state. They are also allowed to bring their families with them, however, they will all be required to quarantine for 14 days. That quarantine must be completed in suitably controlled and monitored accommodation that the mining company has to arrange and pay for.

There are limited specific exemptions for specialist skills not available in WA that are needed to keep business or industry running. Those select specialists will not be subject to quarantine.

Companies have been advised to avoid non-essential interstate travel - particularly on April 6 and 7 - as the hard border beds in.

Interstate arrivals have to substantiate their exempt status, or risk turned back or put into government-controlled quarantine.

All employees and, where relevant, their family members, coming in from interstate will have to carry relevant documentation to substantiate their exemption status.

Employees should carry:

  • A company letter confirming their details, that they are a critical specialist or essential, their travel itinerary, and a company contact phone number that will be answered in WA Police need to clarify any details;
  • A health declaration; and
  • Photo identification such as something employer issued or a driver's licence.

It is recommended they be in uniform where possible or other corporate wear to help identify them as an employee travelling for work.

The WA government recommends company-issued supporting documentation be succinct and clearly focused on providing the necessary information to WA Police efficiently.

Those FIFO workers not exempted as time critical specialists will have to undertake a14-day quarantine.

According to the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, the onus is on the mining company to arrange suitably controlled and monitored accommodation for that period such as a hotel or secure serviced apartments.

It said the companies would be responsible for supporting employees and any family members with food and supplies make regular welfare checks and ensure they remain in their accommodation for the duration of the quarantine period.

WA is also restricting travel within the state.

The government has divided the state into nine regions and most people cannot move outside their regions.

Resources workers are exempt, however, they have to have similar documentation to FIFO workers coming in from interstate.

The intrastate process could become simpler with WA Police planning to roll out an app to expedite that process.

Individuals will be issued with electronic licences that can be displayed on a phone or table at regional check points and scanned by police.

According to AMEC companies will soon be provided with a bulk data upload template to fill out for their workers that must travel across regional boundaries.

Once employees are "licenced" they will be sent their individual licence for their phone for scanning at check points and by roving patrols.