Who does this notice affect?
Third parties where the department undertakes regulatory work on premise
What has changed?
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment operates an integrated business model for its biosecurity operations. This means that our biosecurity officers are cross skilled to undertake traveller, mail and cargo clearances at most ports. Our biosecurity officers regularly move between ports, airports and third-party premises to conduct our regulatory work. This model allows us to be efficient and flexible in the deployment of our workforce and to meet the variability in industry demands.
Given the drop off in the number of international traveller arrivals, the department will be moving more staff out of the airport environment into other parts of our biosecurity operations. This is not a new process, but some ports and third-party premises will see some new faces around as we manage volumes and work demands.
The department has taken several measures to ensure the safety of our staff as well as external stakeholders.
The Department of Health has advised the risk for staff working at airports remains low. A number of biosecurity officers have been tested for COVID-19 where they have either had flu like symptoms or have been in contact with a confirmed case. All biosecurity officers that are suspected of being infected are placed on paid leave whilst they await test results. To date, no biosecurity officers have tested positive for COVID-19.
The department has conducted extensive training and briefings with operational staff to ensure that they are well equipped to do their job and minimise the risk of transmission. Staff are supplied with their own personal protective equipment if and when they are required to wear it.
All biosecurity operations staff are in regular contact with their supervisors about their health and have been advised to not attend work if they are feeling unwell.