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Operational protocol for disaster management workers entering Queensland

Effective from: 3pm 30 October 2020

This protocol has been developed for the purposes of Border restrictions Direction (No. 16)

Preface

  1. The operational protocol for disaster management workers entering Queensland (QLD Disaster Management Protocol) sets out the requirements for persons entering Queensland under the Border Restrictions (No 16) or its successor (Border Restrictions Direction) to perform disaster management or disaster operations activities or to respond to a public safety emergency.

  2. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol applies to all disaster management workers including workers employed by government, non-government organisations, private industry, Australian Defence Force and volunteer workers.

  3. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol is intended to complement any nationally agreed interstate emergency services deployment protocol by setting out Queensland-specific requirements for the entry of persons into Queensland. Employers and organisations bringing disaster management workers to Queensland should also comply with any national protocol requirements.

  4. A declaration of disaster under the Disaster Management Act 2003 is not required for a person to be covered by this protocol.

  5. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol is necessary to manage the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from persons who are travelling to and from Queensland who have been in COVID-19 hotspots. For the QLD Disaster Management Protocol, a COVID-19 hotspot is declared by the Queensland Chief Health Officer and could be different to declarations in other States and Territories. Current COVID-19 hotspots can be found at: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/healthdirections/covid-19-hotspot-declaration.

  6. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol is only enforceable within Queensland.

  7. Non-Queensland residents entering Queensland for a disaster management essential activity should only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to complete the activity. Recreational activities are not part of a disaster management essential activity and must not be undertaken by a person to whom the QLD Disaster Management Protocol applies.

  8. Queensland residents who have completed their disaster management activity within a COVID-19 hotspot and are not returning to Queensland to perform disaster management activities in Queensland must be endorsed under this Protocol if they wish to quarantine under this Protocol. Alternatively, returning Queensland residents may choose to return as a Queensland resident under the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 16). This will require the person to quarantine for 14 days in government nominated accommodation at their own expense.

  9. Queensland residents who have completed their disaster management essential activity within Queensland or in a place other than a COVID-19 hotspot can continue activities of daily life in accordance with the Queensland Public Health Directions.

Application of protocol

  1. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol is approved by the Chief Health Officer under the Border Restrictions Direction (No. 16) or its successors, unless otherwise revoked or amended.

  2. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol applies to any of the following disaster management workers, whether paid or volunteer, if in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland the person has been in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot:

    1. a person performing disaster management or disaster operations activities related to the prevention of a disaster or to the preparation for a disaster (disaster prevention and preparation workers);

      Example: A person assessing an at-risk dam to prevent a potential disaster or a person establishing a cyclone evacuation centre in preparation for a potential disaster.

    2. a person performing disaster management or disaster operations activities in response to a disaster or a person performing activities in response to a public safety emergency (disaster response workers);

      Example: A firefighter responding to a bushfire or a State Emergency Service worker doing flood evacuation or securing property during a flood or cyclone.

    3. a person performing disaster management or disaster operations activities to aid in the recovery from a disaster or performing activities to aid in the recovery from a public safety emergency (disaster recovery workers);

      Example: A person undertaking insurance assessments after a disaster or public safety emergency.

    4. a person returning to commence their ordinary employment and activities in Queensland after performing disaster management or disaster operations activities in a COVID-19 hotspot (returning disaster management workers).

      Example: a volunteer State Emergency Service worker returning to Queensland to recommence their ordinary work as a teacher after performing flood evacuations in another State.

  3. Where requirements apply to all of the persons listed above, they will be collectively referred to as disaster management workers. Otherwise they will be listed separately.

  4. The QLD Disaster Management Protocol does not apply to persons:

    1. entering Queensland from overseas to perform disaster management or disaster operations activities or to respond to a public safety emergency;

    2. returning to Queensland from overseas after performing activities overseas consistent with disaster management or disaster operations activities or responding to a public safety emergency;

    3. The people in paragraph 13 (a) and 13 (b) will be required to comply with the entry and quarantine requirements under the Self-quarantine for Persons Arriving in Queensland From Overseas Direction (No. 6) or successors.

Requirements for entry into Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot

Endorsement of disaster management workers

  1. Persons entering Queensland as a disaster management worker must be endorsed by one of the following and present evidence of such endorsement upon entry to Queensland, if requested to do so by an emergency officer (public health):

    1. the Commander or Deputy Commander of the State Disaster Coordination Centre or their delegate;

    2. a District Disaster Coordinator as prescribed under the Disaster Management Act 2003;

    3. the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services; or

    4. the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Queensland Police Service; or

    5. both the Chief Health Officer or delegate and one of the above endorsers, if the disaster management worker will be:

      1. in an indoor role at any type of State, regional, district or local operational control or coordination centre or facility, whether government or private; or

      2. providing services at an evacuation centre, whether government or private.

  2. A disaster management worker who is a member of the Australian Defence Force and is coming to Queensland to perform disaster management activities must be endorsed by the Commander or Deputy Commander of the State Disaster Coordination Centre.

  3. The endorsing agency is to provide a copy of the endorsement to the State Health Emergency Coordination Centre at shecc@health.qld.gov.au to facilitate a central record of the entry and location of disaster management workers in Queensland.

Criteria for endorsement

  1. Endorsement of a person as a disaster management worker should only be given where:

    1. for non-Queensland residents entering Queensland to perform a disaster management essential activity:

      1. the services provided by the person are needed in Queensland to prevent, prepare for, respond to or recover from a disaster or to respond to or recover from a public safety emergency; and

      2. the person must be physically present in Queensland to provide the services.

    2. for Queensland residents returning to Queensland after entering a COVID-19 hotspot:

      1. the services provided by the person were needed in the COVID-19 hotspot to prevent, prepare for, respond to or recover from a disaster or to respond to or recover from a public safety emergency; and

      2. the person was required to be physically present in the COVID-19 hotspot to provide the services.

    3. for persons transiting through Queensland to perform a disaster management activity in another State or Territory, the State or Territory where the disaster management activity is to be performed has confirmed the person is transiting through Queensland to provide disaster management activities in that State or Territory.

Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity)

  1. Disaster prevention and preparation workers, disaster recovery workers and returning disaster management workers entering Queensland must have a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity). These workers will not be allowed to enter Queensland without a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity).

  2. A Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity) is valid for 14 days from the day of issue or unless the worker’s circumstances change, whichever is shorter.

  3. A Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity) must be completed by the person named on the pass as it is a personal declaration. It is an offence to provide false, misleading or incorrect information on a Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity); punishable by a fine, a court-imposed penalty or up to 6 months imprisonment.

  4. The Queensland Border Declaration Pass (Essential Activity) is available at https://www.qld.gov.au/border-pass.

  5. Disaster response workers who are responding to an immediate disaster or public safety emergency are not required to complete a Queensland Border Declaration Pass.

  6. The agency who has endorsed the disaster response workers must provide a list of the workers and their locations to the State Health Emergency Coordination Centre at shecc@health.qld.gov.au as soon as reasonably possible.

COVID-19 testing

  1. It is recommended that all disaster management workers:

    1. be tested for COVID-19 within 7 days prior to entering Queensland if it is reasonably practicable to do so (factoring in any immediate disaster or public safety emergency needs); and

    2. maintain a rolling 7-day testing cycle while they continue to travel into and out of COVID-19 hotspots if reasonably practicable to do so (factoring in any immediate disaster and public safety emergency needs).

  2. Disaster management workers who have routine COVID-19 testing are not required to isolate while awaiting a test result, if asymptomatic. If a disaster management worker is symptomatic or tested for any reason other than as a disaster management worker, they must continue to follow all relevant public health advice, including isolating until a negative test result is received and they are symptom-free.

  3. A disaster management worker attending a Queensland Health COVID-19 testing facility, should identify as a disaster management worker by showing a copy of their endorsement as a disaster management worker. This will entitle the person to be tested, even if asymptomatic, and be prioritised for testing.

    Note: A list of COVID-19 testing locations is available at: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-informed/testing-and-fever-clinics.

  4. It is recommended that disaster response workers should continue to be tested for COVID-19 on a rolling 7-day testing cycle until at least 14 days has passed since they have been in a COVID-19 hotspot.

  5. Any disaster management worker who develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must seek medical attention as soon as it is safe to do so (refer to paragraphs 51-53).

    Note: A person may wish to contact 134 COVID (13 43 25 84) for advice on next steps.

Record of close contacts

Disaster prevention and preparation workers, disaster recovery workers and returning disaster management workers

  1. Disaster prevention and preparation workers, disaster recovery workers and returning disaster management workers if in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland have been in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot must:

    1. collect and maintain written records of close contacts during the time the person is in Queensland; and

    2. collect and maintain the records at all times while the person is in Queensland, even if off duty or between shifts; and

    3. provide the records to an emergency officer (public health) or a contact tracing officer if requested.

  2. The records of close contacts that must be kept are:

    1. date, time and location of where the close contact occurred; and

    2. if available, name, and phone number or email address of the close contact.

Disaster response workers

  1. Disaster response workers if in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland have been in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot must:

    1. document and maintain written records of their locations and the dates and times they were at those locations during the time the person is in Queensland; and

    2. collect and maintain the records at all times while the person is in Queensland, even if off duty or between shifts; and

    3. provide the records to an emergency officer (public health) or a contact tracing officer if requested.

COVID Safe Workplans

  1. On entry into Queensland, disaster management workers must be able to access a copy of their employer’s or operator’s current COVID Safe workplan, where one is required and available.

  2. If a disaster management worker’s employer or operator has a COVID Safe workplan then all persons must comply with the requirements in the plan in addition to the QLD Disaster Management Protocol.

Quarantine for disaster management workers entering Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot

  1. Quarantine can mean a number of different things. Disaster management workers will not be required to quarantine for 14 days in a government nominated hotel, unless directed to do so by an emergency Officer (public health), for example, due to a breach of the QLD Disaster Management Protocol or another public health reason. Quarantine is about ensuring that people who may pose a transmission risk limit their interactions with the broader Queensland community.

  2. During any quarantine period outlined below the Queensland Police Service or local Public Health Unit may conduct random compliance checks of persons in quarantine. Any persons found to be in breach may be subject to a penalty and arrangements made to take them to a government nominated hotel at the person’s expense.

  3. Recreational activities are not part of an essential activity and must not be undertaken by those entering Queensland to perform work as a disaster prevention worker or a disaster preparation worker during any quarantine period.

    Example: Recreational activities may include attending a sporting event or going to visit friends or family.

Queensland residents returning to Queensland to perform work in Queensland as a disaster management worker

Disaster prevention and preparation workers, and disaster recovery workers

  1. A Queensland resident who, in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland was in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot, can enter Queensland to commence work as a disaster management worker under this protocol if:

    1. in the course of undertaking a disaster management activity they are required to enter a COVID-19 hotspot; and

    2. the person’s role in the activity is complete; and

    3. the person, as soon as reasonably practicable, repositions to Queensland to re-commence work as a disaster management worker; and

    4. the person is endorsed under this Protocol as a disaster prevention and preparation worker or disaster recovery worker.

  2. A disaster prevention and preparation worker or disaster recovery worker must quarantine at their home or, if their home is unsuitable for quarantine, at employer provided accommodation for 14 days.

  3. A home is not suitable for quarantine if it has a vulnerable or immunosuppressed individual residing at the home who cannot be separated from the quarantining disaster management worker.

  4. It is recommended that the home be able to provide separate bedroom and bathroom facilities for the disaster management worker from the other non-quarantine occupants, where possible.

  5. Quarantine at home or employer provided accommodation means the person:

    1. is permitted to leave the place of quarantine only to:

      1. attend the disaster management worksite or attend a clinic or other place to be tested for COVID-19;

      2. obtain essential medical care or medical supplies, where alternative delivery arrangements are not reasonably practicable;

      3. avoid injury or escape a risk of harm; or

      4. escape an emergency situation; and

    2. must eat meals at home or at employer provided accommodation or at the disaster management worksite; and

    3. must not leave quarantine for recreational purposes or to visit family or friends;

    4. must not allow another person to visit the place of quarantine unless:

      1. the person also resides there; or

      2. the person is entering to provide emergency medical or other essential care to an occupant; and

    5. must wear a mask at the worksite when interacting with others at all times indoors, and outdoors where the 1.5 metre physical distancing cannot be met.

Disaster response workers

  1. A disaster response worker who is returning to Queensland to immediately commence disaster response activities is not required to quarantine but must, for 14 days:

    1. minimise close contact with the Queensland community to the extent reasonably practicable; and

    2. follow all COVID-19 related instructions at any location attended;

    3. maintain records of close contacts as outlined in this Protocol; and

    4. not undertake recreational or social activities such as attending a sporting event or visiting family or friends.

Queensland residents returning and not commencing disaster management work – returning disaster management workers

  1. A Queensland resident who, in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland was in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot, can enter Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot as a returning disaster management worker under this protocol if:

    1. in the course of undertaking a disaster management activity outside of Queensland they are required to enter a COVID-19 hotspot; and

    2. the person’s role in the activity is complete; and

    3. the person, as soon as reasonably practicable, repositions to Queensland to return to their ordinary employment; and

    4. the person is endorsed under this Protocol as a returning disaster management worker.

  2. A returning disaster management worker must quarantine at their home accommodation for 14 days or if their home is unsuitable for quarantine, at employer provided accommodation for 14 days.

  3. A home is not suitable for quarantine if it has a vulnerable or immunosuppressed individual residing at the home who cannot be separated from the quarantining disaster management worker.

  4. It is recommended that the home be able to provide separate bedroom and bathroom facilities for the disaster management worker from the other non-quarantine occupants, where possible.

  5. Quarantine at home or employer provided accommodation means the person:

    1. is permitted to leave their place of quarantine to attend their ordinary work in Queensland if their only place of disaster management work was in an interstate Local Government Area with no active COVID-19 cases in the 4 weeks preceding their entry, and only if their ordinary work does not include working with vulnerable or immunosuppressed persons; and

      Note: Examples of working with vulnerable or immunosuppressed persons include working in a residential aged care facility, working in a hospital, or working in a community at greater risk from COVID-19, such as a remote community.

    2. is otherwise permitted to leave their place of quarantine only to:

      1. attend a clinic or other place to be tested for COVID-19;

      2. obtain essential medical care or medical supplies, where alternative delivery arrangements are not reasonably practicable;

      3. avoid injury or escape a risk of harm; or

      4. escape an emergency situation; and

    3. must eat meals at home or at employer provided accommodation or at their worksite; and

    4. must not leave quarantine for recreational purposes or to visit family or friends;

    5. must not allow another person to visit the place of quarantine unless:

      1. the person also resides there; or

      2. the person is entering to provide emergency medical or other essential care to an occupant; and

    6. must wear a mask when interacting with others at all times indoors, and outdoors where the 1.5 metre physical distancing cannot be met.

    7. Information on active cases in interstate Local Government Areas is available –

      New South Wales - https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/recent-case-updates.aspx

      Victoria - https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-coronavirus-covid-19-data

Non-Queensland residents entering Queensland to perform work as a disaster management worker

Disaster prevention and preparation workers, and disaster recovery workers

  1. A non-Queensland resident entering Queensland to perform work as a disaster prevention and preparation worker or disaster recovery worker who, in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland was in a place which at the time of entry to Queensland is a COVID-19 hotspot, must quarantine at their employer provided accommodation for 14 days.

  2. Quarantine at employer provided accommodation means the person:

    1. is permitted to leave the place of quarantine to:

      1. attend the disaster management worksite or attend a clinic or other place to be tested for COVID-19;

      2. obtain essential medical care or medical supplies, where alternative delivery arrangements are not reasonably practicable;

      3. avoid injury or escape a risk of harm; or

      4. escape an emergency situation; and

    2. must eat meals at the employer provided accommodation or at the disaster management worksite; and

    3. must not leave quarantine for recreational purposes or to visit family or friends; and

    4. must not allow another person to visit the place of quarantine unless:

      1. the person also resides there; or

      2. the person is entering to provide emergency medical or other essential care to an occupant; and

    5. must wear a mask at the worksite when interacting with others at all times indoors, and outdoors where the 1.5 metre physical distancing cannot be met.

Disaster response workers

  1. A non-Queensland resident entering Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot to perform work as a disaster response worker while in Queensland must:

    1. only remain in Queensland for the time necessary to complete the essential activity; and

    2. minimise close contact with the Queensland community to the extent practicable; and

    3. follow all COVID-19 related instructions at any location attended; and

    4. stay at overnight accommodation only when necessary; and

    5. not undertake recreational or social activities such as attending a sporting event or visiting family or friends.

Symptomatic disaster management workers

  1. Any disaster management workers, including a returning disaster management worker, who while in Queensland develop symptoms consistent with COVID‑19 must:

    1. If working, cease working as soon as safe to do so; and

    2. isolate once ceased working; and

    3. seek medical attention to be tested for COVID-19 when safe to do so; and

    4. remain isolated until a negative COVID-19 test result is received.

  2. Any disaster management workers who test positive will be contacted directly and advised of next steps.

  3. In addition to 51, a disaster management worker who tests positive for COVID-19 should follow their employer’s COVID Safe workplan, if any.

Personal protective equipment

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks, should be used whenever practicable when physical distancing is not possible, or when prescribed by:

    1. Queensland Health;

    2. Safe Work Australia; and/or

    3. an industry, site-specific, or employer COVID Safe workplans.

Definitions

  1. Close contact of a person is another person with whom they were:

    1. within an enclosed space for a period of 2 hours or longer; or

    2. within 1.5 metres of the other person for a period of 15 minutes or longer.

  2. COVID-19 hotspot means a particular area of Australia decided by the Queensland Chief Health Officer and published on the Queensland Health website. (https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/hotspots-covid-19 ).

  3. Disaster:

    1. has the same meaning as in the Disaster Management Act 2003. The definition is replicated below for reference —

      A disaster is a serious disruption in a community, caused by the impact of an event, that requires a significant coordinated response by the State and other entities to help the community recover from the disruption.

      In this section—

      serious disruption means—

      1. loss of human life, or illness or injury to humans; or

      2. widespread or severe property loss or damage; or

      3. widespread or severe damage to the environment; or

    2. an equivalent disaster in another State or Territory.

  4. Disaster management activities means activities for disaster management, disaster operations or to respond to or recover from a public safety emergency.

  5. Disaster management has the same meaning as in the Disaster Management Act 2003. The definition is replicated below for reference —

    Disaster management means arrangements about managing the potential adverse effects of an event, including, for example, arrangements for mitigating, preventing, preparing for, responding to and recovering from a disaster.

  6. Disaster management worker means a person who has been endorsed under this Protocol as:

    1. a person performing disaster management or disaster operations; or

    2. a person performing activities to respond to or to assist in the recovery from a public safety emergency.

      A person endorsed as a disaster management worker may include a person performing volunteer or paid duties or a person providing aerial resources contracted by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre including air and ground crew responsible for providing aerial firefighting or disaster management support.

  7. Disaster operations has the same meaning as in the Disaster Management Act 2003. The definition is replicated below for reference —

    Disaster operations means activities undertaken before, during or after an event happens to help reduce loss of human life, illness or injury to humans, property loss or damage, or damage to the environment, including, for example, activities to mitigate the adverse effects of the event.

  8. Emergency officer (public health) means an emergency officer appointed under the Public Health Act 2005.

    Note: emergency officers appointed under the Public Health Act 2005 includes public health officers, police, Transport Inspectors, Senior Network Officers, and fire and emergency services personnel.

  9. Event has the same meaning as in the Disaster Management Act 2003. The definition is replicated below for reference —

    An event means any of the following:

    1. a cyclone, earthquake, flood, storm, storm tide, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption or other natural happening;

    2. an explosion or fire, a chemical, fuel or oil spill, or a gas leak;

    3. an infestation, plague or epidemic;

      Example of an epidemic—

      a prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease

    4. a failure of, or disruption to, an essential service or infrastructure;

    5. an attack against the State;

    6. another event similar to an event mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e).

      An event may be natural or caused by human acts or omissions.

  10. Public safety emergency means:

    1. an emergency in the Public Safety Preservation Act 1986; or

    2. an equivalent emergency that is declared by another State or Territory government or government agency under a law in the other State or Territory.

  11. QLD Disaster Management Protocol means this operational protocol for disaster management workers entering Queensland.

  12. Queensland resident is a person whose primary place of residence is in Queensland.

  13. Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 means fever or history of fever, symptoms of acute respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat), loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.

Dr Jeannette Young
Queensland Chief Health Officer
Queensland Health

23 October 2020

Last updated: 30 October 2020