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Victorian Government mandates COVID-19 vaccination for Authorised Workers

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In the same week Greater Shepparton’s first-dose COVID-19 vaccination rates climbed above 90 per cent and Southern Vic above 80 per cent, the Victorian State Government has announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory for Authorised Workers in Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Those on the Authorised Worker List who cannot work from home will need to have had their first vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October. 

Authorised Workers will need to have had both doses of their vaccine by 26 November (unless there is a medical exemption). 

Jeremy Griffith, APAL Head of Government Relations & Advocacy, said this will impact most of the apple and pear industry, as the vast majority of agricultural and food supply chain workers have been on the Authorised Worker list throughout the pandemic. 

“The timing of this mandate means we can reasonably expect the ag workforce in Victoria to be vaccinated before the pome fruit harvest season,” Jeremy said. “The mandate has also been accompanied by government grants and other support, including vaccination ‘blitzes’. We understand that there will be forthcoming guidance from the state government around managing mandated vaccines in the workplace.  

“Making vaccination a condition of employment across the board will hopefully simplify the situation for agricultural employers, who no longer need individual company policies and procedures around employee vaccination.” 

Looking ahead to harvest labour, we can expect the movement of seasonal workers into and between growing regions and rural communities. This includes workers from interstate and SWP and PLS arrivals. 

“At this stage, the NSW government has indicated that it will not be making a similar vaccine mandate,” Jeremy said. “Other states have also not indicated that they intend to mandate vaccines in the near future.  

“However, agricultural workers in other states and countries who intend to come to Victoria for seasonal work must be aware that they will need to follow the Victorian Government vaccination guidelines. We would like clarity from the government as to how vaccination and quarantine for interstate and international arrivals will be managed for the health and safety of those in our growing regions, and whether on-farm quarantine could be an option in Victoria.” 

For more information on the vaccine mandate, read the full media statement here. 

Learn more about booking a vaccination here. 

Track vaccination rates across Australia on the ABC website here. 

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