19 July 2021
Who does this notice affect?
All Biosecurity Industry Participants and food importers who have premises that departmental officers may attend (for inspections, audits, surveillance or other purposes) as well as clients, couriers and other third -party agents that attend departmental offices in NSW.
What has changed?
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) works in a range of environments, including those managed and owned by our clients and business partners.
Where there are shared duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, we are required to work together to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of all our workers. This includes steps to manage the risks of COVID-19. From July 2021 it is a mandatory requirement to record people attending department properties, using the Services NSW QR code.
The department remains committed to delivering our core business and continuing to safeguard Australian agriculture and our environment from the threat of pests and diseases as well as continuing to verify the safety and compliance of imported food during this pandemic. We continue to consider and refine our activities in response to public health measures and impacts, in line with NSW Government and NSW Health advice. Where practical, we have implemented alternative processes for some activities to ensure this can be achieved with minimal on-site interaction between our people.
As essential workers, departmental officers for Imports and Export inspection and Audits continue to undertake DAWE activity across Greater Sydney, including within the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs, in accordance with NSW Government advice.
Whilst undertaking this work, departmental officers comply with departmental and government requirements, including wearing PPE and practising COVID-safe behaviours such as physical distancing and the relevant PPE and require our industry participants to do the same.
Should you deny entry to a departmental officer at your premise, you will be required to make another Request for Inspection (for inspection activity) and appropriate cancellation charges will be applied, as per the Charging guidelines 2021. Similarly, it is expected that auditors will be provided onsite access to conduct audit activities where required.
By re-booking this DAWE activity, the department cannot guarantee that the next departmental officer allocated will not have conducted DAWE activity within the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown LGAs.
We are confident that we have implemented all necessary risk mitigation strategies in our workplaces to protect our people from COVID-19. This includes strict protocols to ensure that the department is promptly informed and responds to suspected and confirmed cases of COVID‑19. 149-2021 Requirement to notify of COVID-19 cases outlines our request for notification if any of your employees (or any visitor to your premises) returns a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Officers have also been asked to comply with reasonable requests implemented by industry participants where these requests are not inconsistent with the relevant health advice.
From 12 July 21 it is a mandatory requirement to record people attending department properties, using the Services NSW QR code. This is undertaken to assist NSW Health with COVID-19 contract tracing.
People entering department properties are to electronically register on entry, regardless of duration on site. They are also required to wear a face mask. To assist in this effort and to avoid disruption to your business, please only send clients, couriers and other third-party agents to our offices with a device capable of scanning and registering their contact details. When sending couriers to drop or collect documents/samplers/inspections, please ensure those people are provided with devices to electronically record their attendance using the QR Code. They should expect to be asked to show the ‘green tick’ to our security guards or our staff. We recommend amending your instructions to couriers to make them aware of this requirement. People unable to scan on entry may be turned away.
Businesses are liable for fines up to $55,000 for noncompliance and individuals may be fined up to $11,000.
We look forward to continuing to work with you and your people to support and enable our businesses in a COVID Safe manner.
If you have been impacted by the NSW Government advice and are unable to maintain your scheduled import inspection appointment with the department, please contact us on 1800 900 090 or email the relevant import booking queue to advise of cancellation of the appointment.
For further general information about this Industry Advice Notice, please contact the department on 1800 900 090.