Farms will be exempt from having a QR code check-in when NSW moves to mandate the COVID-19 practice across all workplaces from Monday, July 12.

Key points:

  • All businesses within NSW will need QR code check in points from Monday, July 12
  • Farmers say there’s been confusion about their requirements as businesses
  • The NSW Government says farmers are not required to use QR codes but “encourages” record keeping of visitors

The NSW Farmers Association said there had been some confusion around the rules for primary producers.

Businesses within the agriculture sector such as rural supplies stores, abattoirs and saleyards will need the codes while properties themselves will not.

“QR codes are not mandated for farms, however it is encouraged that records are kept for workers who come on and off-site each day,” a NSW Government spokesman said.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson has stressed the importance of keeping individual records, for the wider sector.

The agriculture industry has long battled with farm labour shortages, with jobs often filled by backpackers and overseas workers.

Australia’s border closures have seen the problem compounded during the pandemic, even sparking a bidding war for sought-after shearers.

“With shearing season coming up, and the berries coming on in the spring, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure that we contribute to that movement footprint,” Mr Jackson said.

He said farmers “know the importance of traceability” and they can not afford to put people or border arrangements at risk.

“So if there’s a trace that needs to happen so far as this pandemic goes, it can be done quickly and successfully.”

A Northern Tablelands sheep farmer, Mr Jackson said he was preparing to have contractors in for shearing later this month. 

“And they’ll be scanning in on a QR code or signing in on a sign sheet.

People wearing face masks at saleyard

Face masks are now essential at the saleyards.(

Supplied: RLX

)

How are farmers handling the transition?

Regional Livestock Exchanges (RLX) runs eight saleyard sites throughout the eastern states, including four in NSW and will need to have digital tracing in place from Monday.

CEO Cye Travers said varying levels of COVID-19 restrictions have been in place for well over 12 months, with sites currently operating with restricted access.

“I think people are quite used to it now,” he said.

Despite digital check-ins becoming mandatory, Mr Travers said hard copy sign-in sheets will continue to be made available, to comply with the new rules.

Posted 

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