Transport for NSW has announced “significant” changes for the state’s freight industry after ‘Freedom Day’ starts on Monday, October 11.
Perhaps the most noteworthy of all now that the state has passed the 70 per cent vax rate is that the new Public Health Order does not require mandatory vaccination for freight workers.
“This is a matter for individual businesses to determine relevant to the risks in the specific operating environment,” notes Susie Harwood, executive director freight, TfNSW.
“You can direct your employees to get vaccinated where mandatory vaccination is included in a NSW Public Health Order or it would be lawful and reasonable to do so for work health and safety reasons.
“The decision to direct employees should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and depend on a range of factors including the nature of the workplace, the role of the employee, and the likelihood of exposure to Covid-19 in the workplace.”
Testing and permit requirements for authorised workers leaving local government areas of concern have also been removed.
“A worker living in Greater Sydney, including Wollongong and the Blue Mountains, travelling more than 50km outside of Greater Sydney for work, will no longer need to register their travel or be tested on a seven-day rolling basis,” adds Harwood.
“The specific requirements for construction sites located in Greater Sydney, including vaccination requirements, have been removed, other than the requirement to have a Covid-19 Safety Plan.”
Although Simon O’Hara, CEO of Road Freight NSW, welcomed the changes for NSW, he said there was still no room for complacency.
“Remember NSW is the canary in the coalmine in Australia for Covid opening up,” O’Hara told Big Rigs.
“The issue, particularly, for drivers and operators is that many customers (and other states) will require vaccination at their sites for pick up’s or drop offs. So, vaccination for drivers will remain an issue for the foreseeable future.
“Many freight operators have heeded the earlier calls from the NSW government to get their employees vaccinated during the past five months and this requirement will likely remain a feature of the NSW freight industry for the foreseeable future.
“I would again reiterate our view for the freight industry and that is: get vaccinated, if not for yourself, then for your family and the community.”
TfNSW will continue to make available its 11 freight-friendly asymptomatic Covid testing sites to support freight workers to meet testing requirements of other states and territories, and to support the continued movement of goods interstate.
For a map of the testing sites, click here.