Queensland Law Society has received guidance from the Chief Health Officer (CHO) on legal practitioners who need to cross the Queensland/New South Wales border to conduct essential work.
This follows requests made to the CHO last month by QLS President Elizabeth Shearer.
With the New South Wales border zone now divided into restricted and non-restricted areas, a person residing in the non-restricted border zone who has not been in a COVID-19 hotspot (outside of the non-restricted border zone) in the preceding 14 days may enter Queensland to perform work, including provision of legal services, that cannot be done from home.
A border zone resident who has in the preceding 14 days been in the restricted border zone and has not been in a COVID-19 hotspot outside of the border zone may only enter Queensland to perform an essential purpose. Workers who are not specifically listed under the definition of essential work in Schedule 4 of the Border Restrictions Direction require endorsement from the Chief Executive Officer of a Queensland Government department.
To apply for an endorsement, legal practitioners will need to lodge an application. This will be assessed by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and the applicant will receive an outcome within five business days.
All workers entering Queensland from the border zone (restricted and non-restricted) also need to comply with applicable requirements of the Border Restrictions Direction, including the requirement to have at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The CHO said this process had been implemented because of the COVID-19 situation on Queensland’s border with New South Wales. As the spread of COVID-19 throughout New South Wales continued to travel north, all necessary precautions had to be taken to protect our community. The emergence of strains such as the Delta variant had tested the public health response and stronger measures were required to manage the risk.