Qld shuts border to more workers after changes to ‘essential’ list

Teachers, childcare workers and most tradies from some parts of the border zone with New South Wales will no longer be allowed to cross into Queensland after authorities dramatically cut the list of workers deemed as essential.

The direction covers people who have been in the Ballina, Byron, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Walgett, Bourke and Breawarrina Shires, but does not apply to those in the Tweed Shire.

The affected LGAs are currently in lockdown but people can leave and cross into Queensland for essential work.


However, the definition of ‘essential’ is now a lot shorter.

Workers that will still be allowed to enter Queensland include medical practitioners, emergency services workers, defence, air crew, Police, freight, logistics and critical infrastructure workers.

Tradespeople or construction workers will only be allowed to cross the border for essential or emergency construction or repairs only.

Workers not included on the list include teachers, childcare workers, sales reps, hospitality workers, and commercial construction workers on non-essential projects.

The changing of the definition of an essential worker follows a phone hook-up between Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk and Mayors in border communities on Thursday.

Today’s development comes after the Premier issued her clearest warning yet that tougher border controls were imminent, urging Queenslanders, especially those on the Gold Coast not to cross the border.

That has raised fears the entire border zone with northern New South Wales could be in jeopardy, with the Premier saying the next 24 to 48 hours would be critical.

Read more: Stricter border rules imminent as virus creeps closer to Queensland

Queensland Health list of essential workers:

Essential work includes work that is urgently required for:

  • for safety reasons
  • for emergency repairs
  • that is necessary to maintain essential services and supplies to the community, or part of the community.

It includes work performed by:

  • a medical practitioner or other prescribed health practitioner (including at residential aged care facilities, disability accommodation services and aged care or NDIS supports provided to a person’s home)
  • an emergency health services or emergency services worker
  • national defence, state security or police worker
  • a freight or logistics operator
  • an emergency infrastructure worker
  • air crew or maritime crew
  • an emergency volunteer
  • a disaster management worker
  • a critical infrastructure worker
  • a tradesperson or construction worker for essential or emergency construction or repairs only
  • an emergency volunteer, volunteering for any community or government welfare, social, safety, emergency or disaster service.

Essential workers do not include:

  • teachers
  • anyone who can perform their work remotely, at home
  • childcare workers
  • hospitality workers
  • sales representatives
  • commercial construction workers on non-critical projects.

Source: Queensland Health