A new regulation, which will come into effect in late October, will require freight, transport and logistics workers from high-risk areas to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before entering Western Australia.
Changes to the Transport, Freight and Logistics Directions under the Emergency Management Act 2005 will further protect this highly mobile workforce.
From 12.01am, October 24, transport, freight and logistics workers will need to have had at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to enter Western Australia if they have travelled through a ‘high’ or an ‘extreme’ risk jurisdiction.
These workers will need to be fully vaccinated within two months of their first dose, which means they must have received their second dose by 12.01am December 24.
Each day, there are about 300 crossings of the Western Australian border by transport, freight and logistics workers. Many of these workers are from Western Australia, while some are based in other states and territories.
Regardless of where a worker lives, the directions will apply to them if they have transited through a ‘high’ or an ‘extreme’ risk jurisdiction within 14 days of entering Western Australia.
The directions include, but are not limited to, freight truck drivers, pilot/support vehicle drivers, removalists, rail drivers and rail support crew, where these employees are required to travel from or through a ‘high’ or an ‘extreme’ risk jurisdiction for work.
In addition to the mandatory vaccination requirement, these workers must also wear a facemask when in public, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or undertake a Rapid Antigen Test at the Western Australia border and if they are staying in the state, they must comply with the regular testing regime until 14 days has passed.
It will be the responsibility of employers to collect and maintain records of vaccinated workers.
The directions provide exemptions for unvaccinated transport, freight and logistics workers, for approved medical reasons.
Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “The transport, freight and logistics workforce is by its nature highly mobile with truckies and other workers visiting numerous places during the course of their work.
“Being on the road day in day out brings with it risks, and that is why is it important we’ve followed the health advice to ensure this workforce gets vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have already seen instances where truck drivers from places like New South Wales, which is currently at an ‘extreme risk’ setting has incidentally carried COVID.
“We can never be too vigilant in our efforts to keep this deadly virus out of Western Australia and so I strongly encourage everyone to get their COVID vaccine now and let’s get our vaccination levels up.”
Western Australian Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said, “It is vital that our transport, freight and logistics workers – who do a remarkable job keeping our state running and supply chains moving – are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“This is to protect these workers, their family and networks, the community, our industries and the economy.
“On the advice of our Chief Health Officer, the mandate for transport, freight and logistics workers coming into Western Australia from a ‘high’ or an ‘extreme’ risk location to be vaccinated, is a proportionate and appropriate response in the ongoing effort to keep Western Australia safe.
“Of course, we would like all workers in this important industry to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated, and I’d urge them to do so.”