Victorian clippers threaten to take their handpieces and cross the border to evade vaccination regulations.
The Victorian government says it will enforce strict rules on authorized workers, including shearers, who must have their first vaccination by Friday and their second vaccination by the end of next month.
Not all states have the same rules, Queensland authorities say that all workers in the primary industry must be vaccinated to get into that state.
NSW enforces social distancing in sheds, but allows travel for key workers.
Victorian farmers have been warned that allowing unvaccinated workers on their properties could result in a $ 100,000 fine as the state government persists in plans to make vaccination mandatory for all farm workers.
The instructions of the Chief Health Officer apply to all workers and contractors in the agricultural sector who wish to continue working on farms.
If they are not vaccinated by Friday, farm workers must have a booking to receive their first dose by October 22nd.
Benalla scissors entrepreneur Nick Van Elk, owner of NK Shearing, Benalla said neither he nor any of his 30 employees wanted to be vaccinated.
He said the 15 clippers and 15 stable workers would now go to NSW where there were no restrictions.
“They won’t work (in Victoria) because they don’t want the needle.”
He said he supports his employees – “I think it’s every individual’s personal choice.
“All farmers in this area, around Benalla, Wangatta, Luffy, Strathbogie, Euroa will not have their sheep sheared.”
He said he didn’t want to be vaccinated either.
“If I send them to a farm, I’ll be fined for having unvaccinated workers – but I thought Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a personal choice.”
He said he was told that the authorities would use information from the Australian Tax Office to enforce the instructions.
“You’ll find you with the click of a button to create your pay slips.”
Fines range from $ 1817 to $ 10,904 for COVID-19 violations.
Fines range from $ 1817 to $ 10,904 for COVID-19 violations, and providing false or misleading information about vaccination status could result in a fine of $ 10,904.40 for an individual or $ 54,522 for a corporation.
Serious or apparent violation could result in legal proceedings and fines of up to $ 109,044 for corporate bodies.
“The Victorian government’s dedicated industry involvement and enforcement operation will continue to enforce public health instructions regarding workplaces, including worker vaccination requirements,” said a government spokeswoman.
“Companies should expect a visit from our authorized employees at any time, who can issue violations, prohibitions or improvement messages.”
Employers are responsible for following vaccination requirements set out in the instructions and are required to collect, record, and retain vaccination information for all workers who go on-site.
The instructions also state that they must deny entry to the property to any worker who does not meet these requirements.
Audits of employees’ vaccination status may be conducted, with authorized officials asking a company to provide information confirming that the employer has met its obligations under instructions from the chief health officer to collect, record, and retain vaccination information.
The CHO instructions include ensuring density quotients and signage, QR code check-ins and wearing masks, as well as all vaccination requirements for employees.
Victorian Farmers Federation President Emma Germano said the regulations had serious privacy implications that could result from providing information to the wrong agency or a third party.
“We want very clear instructions as to who can ask us for this information on our farm,” said Ms. Germano.
AUSVEG VIC, Fruit Growers Victoria, Food & Fiber Gippsland, GrainGrowers, Citrus Australia and Melons Australia have joined the VFF to ask for more clarity on the instructions.
Ms. Germano said Agriculture Victoria had notified VFF that the regulations would be enforced by “authorized officers” under the Health and Health Act.
“When I said who they are, we were literally told, ‘They have a black uniform’.”
Buffalo dairy farmer Peter Young said he would not ask his staff to get vaccinated, nor would he check the status of those who came to the property.
“Will I stand at the gate and say you can only come if you have been vaccinated?” said Mr. Young.
“It goes against everything I believe in – we’ve never prescribed another vaccine, so why now?
“Once it starts, it doesn’t stop – where does it end?
He said he believed this was against the Data Protection and Dismissal Protection Act.
“If one of my workers is vaccinated, it’s up to them; if not, it’s up to them.”
Ash Fraser, president of VFF Grains Group, said farmers already had a labor shortage.
“You have a header sitting there with no driver, are you going to turn away a potential worker?” Said Mr. Fraser.
“It puts farmers in a vulnerable position.”
Agriculture was the only job in which people could distance themselves socially without any problems.
“The driver could come into the yard and load his truck from the mother bin
“What can mean is that the driver stays in his truck, which is being loaded by someone on the farm.
“By sticking to it, it’s only going to force people to fail – we don’t want to be non-compliant, but you are forcing things this far.”
Shepparton fruit grower Peter Hall said he had no authority to ask anyone else for his or her medical records.
It also placed an additional burden on the establishments that had to track and demonstrate compliance.
“The schedule seems badly thought out to me,” said Hall.
– Courtesy of Stock und Land.
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The story of the Shearers threatening to leave Victoria because of the vaccine mandate first appeared on Stock & Land.