Queensland border closure

Queensland border closure

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, entry into Queensland is temporarily prohibited unless the travel is exempt under the Chief Health Officer’s Border Restrictions Direction. Entry into Queensland is only permitted to persons who are eligible for an exemption. People intending to travel across the border are encouraged to apply for a Queensland Entry Pass to avoid delays at the border.

Important Notice

A separate application is required for each individual, including children, and all travellers in your party must be eligible for an exemption.

Different screening processes apply at airports (see below), compared with road border entries.

Declared hotspots

It’s important to familiarise yourself with new hotspots declared by the Chief Health Officer.

From 12.01am on Saturday 11 April 2020, Queensland residents, or residents of a border community, who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in Australia in the last 14 days, must self-quarantine. This is unless they were in the hotspot for an essential purpose, like going to a funeral, or they need to enter Queensland again for an essential purpose, for example to work.

Details of who is exempt from the requirement to quarantine, even if they have been to a hotspot, can be found at the Queensland Health website.

Remote communities pass

Those who are undertaking an essential activity and need to enter remote communities will now require a pass and an agreed management plan to do so. Detailed information about the restrictions that apply in remote communities is available on the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships website.

Passes and management plans are accessible via an online self-application process. The online system will produce a PDF pass for presentation in hard-copy or via smart phone. This is an extension of the border pass system, which is controlling entry across Queensland borders.

To apply go to www.qld.gov.au/border-pass and click on ‘Travelling to or through remote communities’.

International arrivals

As per the Commonwealth Government’s travel restrictions, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

A person who arrives in Queensland from overseas is required to self-quarantine in a nominated place for 14 days, as instructed by a relevant government officer, whether Queensland is the person’s final destination, or not.

For more information, see – Self-quarantine for persons arriving in Queensland from overseas Direction (No. 3).

Interstate arrivals

Only Queensland residents, residents of border communities undertaking essential activities and those considered an ‘exempt person’ are allowed to enter Queensland via air, sea, rail or road from another State or Territory.

If you meet the criteria for an ‘exempt person’ (see below for more details—‘Who is allowed to enter Queensland?’), then please consider applying online for a Queensland Entry Pass to avoid delays at the border.

Even if a person is a Queensland resident or resident of a border community, they must self-quarantine if they have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in Australia in the last 14 days, unless they were in the hotspot for an essential purpose, like going to a funeral, or they need to enter Queensland again for an essential purpose, for example to work.

There are special requirements for agribusiness and commercial fishing employees or contractors entering Queensland for work. They must self-quarantine if they have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in Australia in the last 14 days.

People moving to Queensland to take up permanent residence will be allowed to enter, but will also be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, which could be at the new residential address.

If a person is entering Queensland from another State or Territory by air in order to transfer to another flight, they are allowed to enter Queensland, but must remain in the airport until the time of a transfer to another flight, or self-quarantine in a hotel until the other flight or follow the direction of the relevant authorities and self-quarantine at a nominated premises, for example if a return flight is not available the same day.

Queensland residents

If you are a Queensland resident returning to Queensland from overseas, you must self-quarantine for 14 days.

If you are a Queensland resident returning from any other place in Australia that is not a declared COVID-19 hotspot you do not have to self-quarantine.

Even if you are a Queensland resident, you should apply for an entry pass before you cross the border.

Who is allowed to enter Queensland (who is considered an ‘exempt person’)?

Exempt people are those living outside of Queensland who provide critical services to Queensland:

  • national/state security
  • essential health services
  • emergency services
  • transport of any goods or freight, by land sea or air
  • critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland
  • construction, mining/energy/commercial fishing/agribusinesses (and see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
  • federal, state or local government workers or contractors who are required to enter to Queensland to work

If you fall within one of these categories and need to enter Queensland, you should apply for an entry pass.

For practical reasons, heavy vehicles carrying any kinds of freight or goods across the border do not have to apply for an entry pass.

Exemption on compassionate grounds

Queensland allows a general compassionate grounds exemption, as well as specific exemptions for those living outside of Queensland who:

  • are carers/relatives of dependent individuals in Queensland
  • need to obtain essential medical treatment including visiting terminally ill relatives in Queensland
  • are attending a funeral
  • are interstate boarding school students where school is closed
  • are complying with child custody arrangements, including voluntary parenting plans
  • are escaping an emergency situation, like domestic and family violence
  • are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions etc).

To apply for an exemption on compassionate grounds, visit the Queensland Health online portal to lodge your application.

Exemption for taking up permanent residency in Queensland

You will also be allowed to enter Queensland if you are moving to make Queensland your permanent place of residence, but you must enter quarantine for 14 days (which could be at your new residence).

Exemption for border communities

People who live near the border of Queensland, NSW, SA or the NT can continue to travel for work or education. This also applies for Queensland residents who travel to NSW, SA or the NT for work or education.

These residents can also travel interstate to obtain essential goods and services, including to attend school or childcare, or obtain medical supplies or services, or other essential services.

These exemptions only apply if you do not stay in Queensland for longer than reasonably necessary.

Exemption for critical service workers

A person who lives interstate and works in Queensland in the construction, commercial fishing, manufacturing, resources sector (and is a critical resources sector employee), energy or agribusiness industry is still allowed to travel to Queensland to work without having to undertake self-quarantine provided their employer has provided a compliant plan to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among its employees and the community.

FIFO workers

Additional restrictions are in place for FIFO workers in the resource sector who live interstate and work in Queensland. Only critical resource sector employees will be allowed to enter Queensland from interstate to work. These are employees critical to the ongoing operation of a resource activity or the resource supply chain which are detailed on the Queensland Health website.

FIFO workers who live and work in Queensland can continue to work in any FIFO roles in Queensland. Additional restrictions about overseas travel continue to apply to Queensland FIFO workers.

Where the FIFO worker comes from interstate, they will be required to provide evidence that they are a FIFO worker, who they are working for, and that they are entering Queensland to go directly to work.

The companies they work for in Queensland will also have to provide a health plan that complies with requirements set by the Chief Health Officer that ensures adequate hygiene and safety requirements to limit the transmission of COVID-19.

Access the template Health Plan (DOCX).

For Queensland residents who perform FIFO work for a company interstate, that company does not have to comply with a health plan set by Chief Health Officer.

If the FIFO work is in a hotspot declared by Chief Health Officer, the person does not need to self-quarantine on return to Queensland because they were in the hotspot for an essential purpose (work).

General FAQs

  • You can apply for an Entry Pass through an online application process.

  • Yes, but to avoid delays you are strongly advised to apply for an Entry Pass before you enter Queensland.

  • If you are a Queensland resident and are interstate, you are permitted to re-enter Queensland. You are strongly advised to apply for a Queensland Entry Pass before you re-enter to avoid delays at the border.

    However, Queensland residents must self-quarantine if they have travelled in the last 14 days overseas, or if they have been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days.

    There are some exemptions from self-quarantine for people who have travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot. If you travelled there for an essential purpose such as work, parenting agreements, a funeral or to visit a dying relative, you will not need to self-quarantine on your return. A full list of exceptions is available on the Queensland Health website.

  • The only change to the way in which restrictions for residents of border communities operate is if a person has been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days. These people won’t be able to enter Queensland for exercise, to visit a friend or to go to childcare, school or university. However, they will be able to continue to cross the border to go to work or for other essential purposes such as attending a funeral or visiting a dying relative.

    For a full list of permitted purposes see the Direction – Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering.

    Otherwise, residents of border communities are considered an ‘exempt person’.

  • Queensland police and other emergency officers under the Public Health Act 2005 will be responsible for enforcing the measures. Other Commonwealth officers may also be involved.

    Enforcement officers will also be monitoring the rail and sea ports, as well as roads.

    If a person fails to comply with the direction/s, an emergency officer may use reasonable force to enforce the direction.

    If the person does not comply with the quarantine directions, penalties can also apply: $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations. It is possible the enforcement officer can issue on the spot tickets for lesser amounts ($1334.50 for individuals, or $6,672.50 for corporations).

  • The Australian Government is responsible for Australia’s international borders and has restricted travel to Australia. All people allowed to enter Australia are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

    Border restrictions have been introduced in Tasmania, NT, SA and WA.

    NSW and Victoria have indicated they will not be restricting their borders.

    Queensland's restrictions are broadly similar to other jurisdictions, except that Queensland allows people living in border communities to travel interstate for work without having to self-quarantine, but only for as long as that work requires them to do this. They can also obtain essential food/services by travelling across the border. If the person has been overseas in the last 14 days they will have to self-quarantine as required by the Australian Government. There are also some restrictions if a person has been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days.

FIFO FAQ's

  • Only critical resource sector employees are allowed to enter Queensland from interstate to their work.

    Additional restrictions apply if the FIFO worker has returned from overseas in the last 14 days – regardless of whether any exemptions exist for those workers, they must enter quarantine for 14 days before working in Queensland.

  • A full list is published on the Queensland Health website specifically stating which positions are critical. These are employees critical to the ongoing operation of a resource activity or the resource supply chain.

    The list includes statutory positions under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999, and the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act 2004. Positions such as site senior executives, mine managers, and mechanical and electrical engineering managers are included.

    The Chief Health Officer can also approve a person as a critical resources sector employee.

  • These restrictions do not apply to you, whether you are a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) worker or a drive-in-drive out worker. You do not have to be deemed a ‘critical resource employee’ to continue to live and work in Queensland. If a FIFO worker has returned from overseas in the last 14 days – regardless of whether any exemptions exist for those workers, they must enter quarantine for 14 days before working in Queensland.

  • It is essential to maintain a strong economy as best we can throughout this crisis and the resource industry is an essential part of this. We want to protect our remote and regional communities, which may be particularly dependent upon this sector.

Resources

For help with understanding the requirements you can call 134 COVID (134 26 843), or find out more about:

Last updated:
31 May 2020