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THE Australian government, together with the states and territories, has announced streamlined COVID-19 measures for freight operators to ensure the efficient movement of goods continues in a COVID-safe manner.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the changes would help keep the country functioning as it should.

“With many Australians currently experiencing lock-down, one of the most important things we can do is ensure families can continue to reliably source the things they need, like food and basic goods, in a safe manner,” he said.

“Freight workers are well and truly amongst Australia’s most vital workers, helping to feed families and communities, keeping businesses functioning, and underpinning a strong economy.

“We need to keep our truckies, train drivers and other freight industry workers, their families and our communities safe and well while they continue their vital work.”

Mr Joyce said, a week ago there were eight different sets of rules on testing for freight workers. Under the revised National Freight Movement Code and Protocol, freight workers crossing state and territory borders are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result in a rolling seven-day period.

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In some cases, workers may also need to be tested more frequently depending on particular requirements in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, but the new agreement means more than half the jurisdictions will be following a single, simple approach to testing.

Road safety and freight transport assistant minister, Scott Buchholz, said the updated code’s streamlined set of rules across jurisdictions will ensure freight can move efficiently and testing is as consistent as possible.

“We want to ensure the transport industry continues the great work they have done throughout the pandemic, while carrying out vital freight activities to keep supermarkets stocked and other goods moving in the safest way possible,” Mr Buchholz said.

“This is also why I am encouraging all freight workers to get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, to help protect your community, and I commend those transport operators who are assisting with the vaccination effort within the sector.

“States and territories are also standing up additional testing facilities along key freight routes, intermodals and hubs to assist freight workers to more readily access testing facilities, in line with AHPPC advice,” he said.

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