COVID-19 Resources and updates:

The current coronavirus pandemic is an evolving situation – this page will be updated  as new information comes to light.

If you have questions that are not covered here please contact the APAL office on 03 9329 3511 or email admin@apal.org.au

Last updated: 6/9/2020

What is COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Act early, adjust and adapt

With so much outside our immediate control, the accumulating advice is strongly encouraging us to identify what we can control and to take action.

The earlier we start, the more time we have to find options. Some of these options may require actions by government, by industry or even between growers and this may take time to work through. We need to be prepared to adapt and adjust our plans as we work through the year and to think outside the square for solutions.

One thing that is certain is that we will need to explore all and every option to get us through a very challenging year.

Be COVIDSafe

APAL recommends you have a COVIDSafe Plan whether it is mandatory in your region or not. A COVIDSafe plan is about identifying, managing and minimising risk to your workers and your business. Guides and resources on what to consider and who to go about preparing a plan are available on Government websites. Below are a few examples:

Create a COVIDSafe Plan (Business Victoria).

Create a COVIDSafe Plan (Government of South Australia).

 

Workplace safety

Click here for APAL’s grower’s checklist.

Click here for the National Farmer’s Federation (NFF) COVID-19 guide.

It is highly recommended any employer looking for advice reads use these two resources to inform decision making during this time.

Click here for the World Health Organisation’s summary of COVID-19. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19

Click here for APAL’s Growers checklist for COVID-19.

While preventing the spread of coronavirus is everyone’s responsibility, as key members of the food supply chain our industry has a critical role to play in preventing the transmission of the virus as much as possible. It is critical to treat basic hygiene practices such as physical distancing, handwashing, coughing into elbows and cleaning with the utmost importance.

Basic hygiene

Click here for the Australian Government’s COVID-19 information page

Click here for a printable poster summarizing basic prevention strategies

Click here for a detailed, step by step how to wash your hands properly poster

What to do as an employer

A member of my workforce may have COVID-19. What do I do?

As much as we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we also have a responsibility to be transparent with infections to prevent further infections.

If a member of your workforce displays symptoms of COVID-19, the following steps must be taken:

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food handling?

Food Safety Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has said that transmission through food is unlikely and so far there is no evidence that people have become infected via food or drink.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a statement saying that food is not a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.

Obligations as a workplace

It is important for all businesses to review current and possible risks within the workplace, putting in place contingency plansand addressing them via a policy. This protects you and your workers.

Click here for the Fair Work Ombudsman’s information about your potential legal obligations as an employer.

From the Government

Click here for information from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Who can I contact for more information?

There is a National Coronavirus Helpline – call 1800 020 080 for information. This hotline is available 24/7.

Links to information State by State

Make sure you are aware of local requirements for travel and freight.

State and territory border closures

Check the latest updates at interstatequarantine.org.au.

Business support

I’m a small business that has been negatively impacted by the virus. What can I do?

Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) has put together a very comprehensive COVID-19 Business Support Packages bulletin (information current as of 27 March 2020).

The Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses,  that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000 aimed at Boosting Cash Flow for Business– details here.

The Federal Government has announced a second stimulus package to assist your business to pause and restart once the crisis has passed – click here for more information

The Government has also announced stage three of its $130 billion stimulus package, with the JobKeeper payment central to this plan.

Businesses with an annual turnover under $1bn, that have had their turnover impacted by 30 per cent or more from the coronavirus pandemic, will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be paid a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per registered eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months. Employers must ensure eligible employees receive at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).  More information on the package is available here.

Recovery

The Federal Government is currently reviewing the regulatory settings which will help the economy as it enters the recovery phase of COVID-19. The advice they are seeking from industry falls broadly into three categories:

If any members have any feedback please contact Jeremy Griffith (APAL Head of Government Relations) for relaying on to the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Horticulture Council.


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