To slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, from 26 March 2020, the Queensland Government implemented restricted entry to Queensland via its borders.
These restrictions will affect parents in situations where travel interstate to or from Queensland is required to facilitate children’s time with a parent.
Parents for whom interstate travel is a facet of their children’s care arrangements should be aware of the following:
At the date of this article, children or parents who live interstate (outside Queensland) and who are required to travel to Queensland to spend time with a family member/parent are to be issued an entry pass to be permitted to enter Queensland. However, there does not appear to be any avenue to apply for an entry pass if there are no Court Orders governing parenting arrangements.
A parent or child that is required to travel interstate from Queensland may do so. As existing Queensland residents, they will then be permitted to regain entry to Queensland as a returning Queensland resident.
Anyone who arrives in Queensland (via air, sea, rail or road) from another State or Territory from 26 March 2020 must self-quarantine for 14 days, unless they are an “exempt person”.
Who is exempt from the requirement to enter quarantine for 14 days?
Those living outside of Queensland who provide critical services to Queensland:
Essential health services
Transport of goods or freight including food
Critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland
Construction, mining/energy/agribusinesses (and see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
Federal, state or local government workers who are required to enter to Queensland to perform official duties.
There is a ‘general grounds’ exemption for those living outside Queensland who are “required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland, for example, Family Court”. This appears to restrict the entry to Queensland to parents who are travelling to facilitate children’s care arrangements that are set out in Court Orders.
It is important to note that even an “exempt person” must self-quarantine on their arrival in Queensland if they have:
travelled outside Australia;
travelled to any part of Australia that is deemed by the Chief Medical Officer (and published on Queensland health website in the future) as a travel destination from which parties are required to self-quarantine on return; or
They have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
The Queensland Government ‘border restrictions’ factsheet can be accessed here.
As the State and Federal Governments continue to reassess restrictions on a daily basis, we recommend that you make the necessary enquiries to ensure that you are equipped with the most up to date information on travel, travel restrictions and any other Government restrictions before planning or undertaking travel during the COVID-19 health crisis.