COVID-19: Managing primary production workforce


Last updated: 12 Mar 2021 5:21pm


There are industry specific questions about the primary production workforce that are under consideration by State and Federal governments. This page will be updated as information comes to light.

Important information for employers of foreign nationals

In response to industry queries, Home Affairs has developed a range of fact sheets to assist agricultural employers with immigration related queries and to understand their obligations.

For more information on the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme visit the Australia Government's Department of Home Affairs Seasonal Worker webpage.

Food processing plants and manufacturing businesses and COVID-19

In response to industry discussions surrounding meat processing plants, SafeWork NSW, NSW Health and DPI have developed the Animal Welfare and Business Continuity Self-Assessment (PDF, 281.93 KB) and the Workplace Health Management Plan Template (PDF, 393.67 KB), to support food processing and manufacturing business, including meat, seafood and horticulture, manage the risk of COVID-19.

Businesses are recommended to assess their risk mitigations in place for these areas using checklists (also contained within the plans) (PDF, 393.67 KB), and make the necessary changes to practices as required.

The meat processing sector has been identified as representing a high risk for the transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

To keep workers, visitors and customers safe, the NSW Government has developed a set of Industry guidelines for COVID Safe workplaces to assist businesses and organisations to create and follow a COVID-19 Safety Plan. There are industry specific guidelines available for food processing and manufacturing businesses and for abattoirs and the meat processing industry.

This information is not for food and retail services. For more information for the food and retail services industry visit the Food Authority website.

Student visa changes

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud announced changes on 5 January 2021 that mean student visa holders will be permitted to work more than the usual 40 hours per fortnight limit during semesters if they are working in the agriculture sector. Visit the Australian Government’s temporary visa page for more information.