FREIGHT, transport and logistics workers entering Western Australian from “high” or “extreme” risk areas will be required to have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine starting on 24 October.

These workers will need to be fully vaccinated within two months of their first dose, which means they must have received their second dose by 24 December.

Each day, there are about 300 crossings of the Western Australian border by transport, freight and logistics workers. Many of these workers are from WA, while some are based in other states and territories.

Regardless of where a worker lives, these directions will apply to them if they have transited through a “high” or an “extreme” risk jurisdiction within 14 days of entering WA.

The directions include, but are not limited to, freight truck drivers, pilot/support vehicle drivers, removalists, rail drivers and rail support crew, where these employees are required to travel from or through a “high” or an “extreme” risk jurisdiction for work.

In addition to the mandatory vaccination requirement, these workers must also wear a mask when in public, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result or undertake a rapid antigen test at the WA border and, if they are staying in WA, they must comply with the regular testing regime until 14 days has passed.

It will be the responsibility of employers to collect and maintain records of vaccinated workers.

The directions provide exemptions for unvaccinated transport, freight and logistics workers, for approved medical reasons.

Currently, New South Wales is an “extreme risk” jurisdiction, Victoria is “high risk”, ACT is “medium risk”, Queensland is “low risk” and the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania are “very low risk”.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said the transport, freight and logistics workforce is by nature highly mobile.

“I have a lot of admiration for the work of people in transport, freight and logistics, who do an incredible job each and every day,” he said.

“Throughout the course of the pandemic they’ve continued work to ensure Western Australians could continue with their livelihoods and keep the state’s economy ticking over. Being on the road day in day out brings with it risks, and that is why is it important we’ve followed the health advice to ensure this workforce gets vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Mr McGowan said there have already been instances where truck drivers from places such as New South Wales – which is currently at an “extreme risk” setting – have incidentally carried COVID-19.

“We can never be too vigilant in our efforts to keep this deadly virus out of Western Australia and so I strongly encourage everyone to get their COVID vaccine now and let’s get our vaccination levels up,” he said.

State transport minister Rita Saffioti said it is vital that transport, freight and logistics workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“This is to protect these workers, their family and networks, the community, our industries and the economy,” she said.

“On the advice of our chief health officer, the mandate for transport, freight and logistics workers coming into Western Australia from a ‘high’ or an ‘extreme’ risk location to be vaccinated, is a proportionate and appropriate response in the ongoing effort to keep WA safe.”