Horticulture in Queensland Australia, COVID-19 Response. It Hasn’t All Been Bad on Reflection
Australia and with that Queensland have been extremely fortunate with the impact of COVID-19. Queensland has only had 1,067 cases as of June 30, 2020, of which 78% have been overseas acquired. Australia and Queensland acted early to address COVID-19 by putting in place a range of strategies including travel bans (international and domestic), isolation measures, testing regimes, advice to business, economic support, and research funding. Agriculture was designated an essential business and as such has continued operating throughout the pandemic. They have however had to develop and implement COVID plans to keep workers safe. To help agricultural business establish plans information was developed by Safe Work Australia, National Farmers Federation and the Queensland Department of Workplace Health and Safety. Workforce issues were identified early, particularly seasonal workers (those who travel from their usual place of residence to another place to work). The Queensland Government enacted a directive about how seasonal workers were to be managed and also developed a guide specifically for horticulture to help manage their COVID-19 response. We provide two case studies demonstrating how agriculture has responded to COVID-19. Agriculture has successfully, in Queensland, adapted quickly to the changing work conditions due to COVID-19. This is due to all levels of government coming together with industry to find solutions. Some changes have had wider benefits such as improved sanitation, better communication and a greater recognition of seasonal worker needs. Being prepared and resilient has enabled agriculture to alleviate the impact on their businesses ensuring the health of all. © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.