Moving freight is considered an essential service as part of wider efforts to contain COVID-19.

Moving freight is considered an essential service as part of wider efforts to contain COVID-19.

State govt declares ag an essential service

Coronavirus shutdown won't delay farmers, food and freight

Sustainability
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The government has moved to assure Queenslanders the movement of agricultural goods will continue.

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The vital role of farmers alongside the transport and logistics sector has been recognised as an essential service.

Following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's decision to close the borders from midnight Wednesday, the government has moved to assure Queenslanders the movement of agricultural goods will continue.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said there was no shortage of food, and transportation of produce will not be impacted by localised lockdowns or heightened interstate border restrictions.

"Our ability to feed Queenslanders and other Australians and also export food to other nations is a massive advantage for our state," Mr Furner said.

"These are essential businesses and will continue to be supported as we work together as Queenslanders to overcome this."

In 2017-18 the gross value of agriculture and the food supply chain in Queensland was estimated to be $25.7 billion. It accounted for about 7 per cent of the state's economic output.

Mr Furner said the agriculture and food supply chain employs more than 330,000 people, which is 13 per cent of all working Queenslanders.

"The value of food processing and distribution in Queensland, including manufacturing and retail and services, was estimated to be almost $15.6 billion for 2017-18. The sector employs around 270,000 people," he said.

The Queensland Government is working with industry to ensure supplies of perishables including meat, dairy, bread, fruit, vegetables, eggs and seafood are readily available.

Where there is strong demand supplies are being diverted from export markets to domestic markets to meet surging consumer needs.

Moving produce between the states will continue, as will exports out of the ports.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said moving freight was considered an essential service as part of wider efforts to contain COVID-19.

"Border closures don't apply to trucks carrying freight, so Queensland communities will continue to be supplied with food and medical products, fuel and other necessary items," Mr Bailey said.

"The same goes at Queensland's ports.

"We have strict rules in place at Queensland's 21 ports to manage potential health risks from foreign ships, however we will not let these rules delay or compromise the delivery of essential supplies into the state.

"While continuing to manage those risks, we've relaxed some stringent restrictions at the Port of Brisbane to ensure goods keep flowing so they can get to where they are needed sooner."

Rules have already been implemented at the ports, restricting vessels from entering Queensland's pilotage area until 14 days have elapsed since the ship's departure from international ports.

Mr Bailey said ships arriving in Queensland from New Zealand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and some South West Pacific Nations were exempt from the rules, providing the demonstrated they had put in place measures to protect workers from health risks.

"We are determined to keep trade flowing through Queensland ports with as little disruption as possible during this unprecedented time," he said.

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