Know your COVID-19 obligations so Australia’s freight industry can stay safe and strong.
On this page:
- National Freight Movement Code
- 8 steps to safe freight
- Links and resources
- Frequently asked questions
National Freight Movement Code
The movement of freight is critical to keep our society and economy running. To protect our freight industry and communities, Transport Ministers have now agreed an updated national Freight Code and Protocol (the Code) to simplify the testing requirements for freight workers.
The Code makes it easier for you to understand your obligations when you cross state and territory borders by providing nationally consistent border guidance. You must still be aware of the local health orders and COVID-19 requirements in each state and territory, as these can change quickly.
The Code applies to freight workers that are crossing state and territory borders for their work, including drivers of any heavy vehicles over 4.5 GVM, rail crew and support workers.
- Read our frequently asked questions
8 steps to safe freight
As an interstate freight worker, there are 8 things you need to know before you cross a state or territory border.
Take the test
To cross a border, you need to have a negative COVID-19 test result from the last 7 days. Tests are free.
Test sites are not necessarily at the border. They are at safe and easy-to-access locations. Use this travel planner to find a testing site. You do not have to wait for your test result, but if you do get it before you leave, carry it with you to cross the border, or in case you are stopped for a check along the way.
Have a COVID-19 plan
Have a plan ready of what you will do if you become unwell or test positive for COVID-19. If you have symptoms, get tested immediately. If you test positive after you cross a border, immediately quarantine as soon as you can safely do so, contact your employer and call the local state or territory health department.
You may be able to go to your home state to self-isolate. You will need to follow the Public Health Orders or Emergency Management Directions of the state you are in. These can change quickly and can be different across each border.
Get the right information
Use government websites and social media channels to get the right information on hotspots and rules. Things can change quickly so before you cross a border, check the latest updates. You need to know if you are leaving or going into a hotspot. Save the website links in your phone so they are easy to check. Make sure you refresh websites or social media accounts to get the latest information.
Prepare what you need to cross the border
Each state and territory border may have different requirements on what you need to cross a border. Get ready to cross by knowing what you need to do and remember that things can change quickly. You may need to show a permit, evidence you’ve had a vaccine, or proof of an exemption if you haven’t – as well as your negative COVID-19 test from the last 7 days. You have to stop at a border if directed to. Keep up-to-date through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s website.
Check your health
Know the symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough, and a sore throat. Do a daily self check-up on how you feel. Be aware of any changes to your health. If you have any of these symptoms, or think you may have COVID-19, do not continue working as usual. Tell your boss, isolate as soon as you can safely do so, get tested for COVID-19 and seek medical advice if needed.
Mask and hands
Protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, sanitising your hands and practising social distancing when leaving your truck, train or other vehicle. Ensure your mask covers your nose and mouth and change it often. Wash and sanitise your hands before and after you deliver or pick up freight.
Always use QR codes to check in when you stop. Download the local state or territory check-in app before you cross the border. If there are no QR codes, write down where you’ve been, who you’ve seen and at what times.
Keep your distance
Only leave your vehicle to use rest stops, refuel, deliver or load freight, or for work health and safety reasons. When you do, maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres away from others at all times. Rules can be different when you cross a border, so check before you cross. No one else can be in your vehicle unless they are part of your two-up team.
Follow the rules
These 8 simple steps PDF: 664 KB will help you to comply with COVID-19 rules and restrictions across Australia, although rules may vary in each state and territory so it’s important to keep up-to-date through their websites. You may be stopped and fined if you break the rules or you may be checked by an officer at a random or targeted stop. If you have not followed the rules, there will be a penalty, which may be different in each state or territory.
Be ready when stopped – keep your mask, test result and permit or vaccine information close by. Follow safety instructions when you deliver or pickup. Only stay in accommodation to meet work and rest limits. Stay away from common areas at accommodation.
Links and resources
State and territory websites
Get information about freight movement for all states and territories at the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator website or use the links below.
|State or territory||Freight movement, registrations and restrictions||COVID updates and check-in apps|
|Australian Capital Territory||Freight movement||Latest updates|
|New South Wales||Freight movement||Latest updates|
|Northern Territory||Freight movement | Apply to enter||Latest updates|
|Queensland||Freight movement||Latest updates|
|South Australia||Freight movement | travel registrations | travel restrictions||Latest updates|
|Tasmania||Freight movement||Latest updates|
|Victoria||Rail freight factsheet | Road freight factsheet | Apply to enter||Latest updates|
|Western Australia||Freight movement | Apply to enter||Latest updates|
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator provide a one-stop-shop for regular updates of the individual requirements in each state and territory, for road and rail respectively. These will vary as the COVID-19 situation in each state and territory changes and new local Public Health Orders are announced in response to outbreaks, so be sure to check regularly before you travel.
Frequently asked questions
See our frequently asked questions for more information about the National Freight Code and your responsibilities as a freight worker during COVID-19.
Principles for COVID-19 Private Bus Industry Operations
The Australian Government, in partnership with industry and the state and territory governments, has developed Principles for COVID-19 Private Bus Industry Operations PDF: 819 KB. The Principles provide clear and consistent guidance for the private coach, tour, and express bus industry to minimize the risks of COVID 19 and have been reviewed by the Department of Health.
The Principles have been designed to underpin the CovidSafe Workplans that each business should implement to manage COVID 19 related risks.
Principles for COVID 19 Public Transport Operations
On 29 May 2020, the National Cabinet agreed to the Principles for COVID 19 Public Transport Operations PDF: 165 KB. These principles provide guidance about how public transport can minimize risks from COVID 19 and continue to run as safely as possible for passengers and public transport workers.
State and territory governments remain responsible for the operation of public transport services and jurisdictions will continue to provide guidance for their workforces and passengers. Information about the public transport services run in specific jurisdictions is available on the relevant state or territory government website.
Exemption from closure of non-essential services
On 24 March, the National Cabinet agreed a range of restrictions to non-essential services to apply from 11:59pm (local time) 25 March 2020. This was announced as a part of Australia's response to the coronavirus epidemic. Amongst these restrictions were restaurants and cafes, with exceptions provided for takeaway services and home delivery.
This captured roadhouse and rest stop facilities that provide meal and hygiene facilities for the trucking industry. For road freight to move safely, truck driver health and fatigue needs to be managed with regular and good quality breaks.
On the 30 March 2020, the National Cabinet agreed to exempt these facilities from the non-essential services restrictions and allow these facilities to continue supplying their services to heavy vehicle drivers. Details of the agreed exemption can be found in the Heavy Vehicle Rest Stop Facilities Exemption Requirements PDF: 403 KB.
On 25 March 2020, the Transport and Infrastructure Council released a communique about the impacts of the coronavirus on Australia's transport sectors.