Page current as of 4pm Thursday 6 August 2020.
The renewed outbreak of coronavirus has prompted significant changes to border requirements across Australia. We are working hard to collate and provide the most accurate, timely information and will endeavour to keep you informed as things evolve.
The NHVR has summarised the information on border restrictions specific to the heavy vehicle industry, below. The information is sourced from, and verified by, the relevant state or territory governments. We encourage drivers to follow the links provided under each entry for more detail on their specific requirements. Please note, any application to cross a border is completed and submitted through the relevant state or territory and not through the NHVR. COVID-19 testing sites are managed by the relevant state or territory Health agencies.
Drivers using their fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle to drive to a COVID-19 testing facility are able to utilise the Personal Use Exemption. In this case normal Personal Use Exemption rules apply.
Australian Capital Territory
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering ACT from Victoria.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? No
- Freight and logistics operators must apply for an exemption at least 48 hours (wherever possible) before your intended travel date.
- Transiting through the ACT for the purposes of freight is currently exempt.
New South Wales
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering NSW from Victoria.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? No
Where to get tested for COVID-19? NSW COVID-19 testing clinics
- All freight drivers should apply for a border pass under the exemption category “Critical services – movement of freight or persons on a commercial basis”. Apply for a COVID-19 NSW border entry permit
- The freight industry is excused from requirements to self-isolate, provided your employer has a COVID-Safe plan in place.
- COVID-Safe plans and guidelines to assist the industry are also available to align with this additional permit – COVID-19 Safety Plan - Transport freight and logistics operations
- It is recommended that all essential workers wear a facemask.
- COVID-19 testing every seven days is encouraged, but not mandatory, as part of a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Freight workers who do not have any symptoms who have been tested for COVID-19 are not required to self-isolate while waiting for test results.
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering Northern Territory from any other state.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? No
Where to get tested for COVID-19? Northern Territory testing facilities
- Any visitors who have been in a declared coronavirus hotspot will no longer be able to gain access or quarantine in Northern Territory.
- Truck drivers moving essential, critical or urgent items are an exception to this, however they must quarantine in their truck or a hotel.
- Anyone travelling to the Northern Territory must complete an arrival border crossing application and submit an application and have a letter signed by the Chief Health Officer (or their delegate) outlining the conditions under which they can enter the NT and work.
- An application for exempt status must be completed and submitted with a copy of your COVID-19 management plan.
- All exempt personnel must practice physical distancing of 1.5 metres and should limit their interactions with Territorians when not at work for the first 14 days of entering the NT.
- Latest advice on Exemption to Quarantine
- NT declared list of COVID-19 hotspots
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering Queensland from any other state.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? No, however the Queensland Chief Health Officer (CHO) has issued advice (PDF, 7KB) encouraging any freight and logistics operators entering Queensland from a COVID-19 hotspot to have their drivers tested for COVID-19, within 7 days of their arrival in Queensland and maintain a weekly testing regime while they travel through hotspots.
Where to get tested for COVID-19? Queensland Testing and fever clinics — coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Pop up fever clinics are specialist clinics managed by Queensland Hospital and Health Services that assess people who may be infected with COVID-19.
- No appointment is needed to get a COVID-19 test at these pop-up fever clinics. The tests are free for tourists and visitors, as well as residents and are available at several locations around Queensland, including some drive-through sites.
- Any visitors who have been in a declared coronavirus hotspot will no longer be able to gain access or quarantine in Queensland, unless they are in an exempt category which includes freight.
- All freight drivers require a border pass that must be renewed every seven days.
- All drivers should adhere to additional health regulations:
- Self-isolate in truck or accommodation when not working
- Keep records of close contacts for 14 days
- Agree to be tested if symptoms develop
- Queensland Border Declaration Pass
- QLD declared list of hotspots
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering South Australia from any other state.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? Yes – Essential freight workers will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and again on day 12 if they remain in the state unless they can provide to a requesting officer evidence of a test or test results from the preceding seven days.
Where to get tested for COVID-19? South Australia COVID-19 Clinics and Testing Centres
- Only essential travellers, including essential freight workers, will be able to enter South Australia from Victoria.
- You need to complete the cross border pre-approval form at least 72 hours prior to your arrival.
- If you are an essential freight worker, you will need to provide evidence in your cross border travel registration form, including a letter from your employer stating the duties required to be undertaken and details of the locations, ABN number and your name and address.
- All essential freight workers who are residents of Victoria must wear a facemask when entering South Australia and self-quarantine in their truck or other private arrangements when not undertaking work-related duties.
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering Tasmania from any other state.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? Yes – An essential traveller who has spent time in a designated NSW hotspot or any part of Victoria in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test on arrival at air and seaports. There will be medical and or nursing staff at the ports to conduct the testing.
Where to get tested for COVID-19? Tasmania Testing for COVID-19
- Any visitors who have spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel are not permitted to travel to Tasmania.
- Essential travellers from Victoria, will still be able to apply to travel to Tasmania for a specified purpose. This category includes freight and logistics.
- All travellers will still be required to provide travel details on arrival. The most effective way of doing this is via the G2G PASS.
Is a border pass required? – No border pass is required
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? No
Where to get tested for COVID-19? Victoria Where to get tested for COVID-19
- A facemask is mandatory across all of Victoria when in public. This includes essential workers in the freight industry.
- If a driver is travelling in a vehicle by themselves they are permitted to remove the face mask while in their vehicle.
- Service centres and roadhouses will remain open across Victoria to comply with national heavy vehicle regulations.
- Face covering rules in Victoria
Is a border pass required? Yes – if entering Western Australia from any other state.
Is a mandatory COVID-19 test required? Yes – If an essential traveller arrives in WA and remains for 48 hours a test is required. Another test is also required on day 11 if an essential worker remains in the state.
Where to get tested for COVID-19? Western Australia COVID clinics
- All heavy vehicle drivers must apply for an exemption under the transport, freight and logistics category to enter Western Australia.
- The quickest and simplest way to apply for an exemption is via the G2G PASS.
- Essential travellers from Victoria and NSW must wear a facemask when interacting with others, and continue to observe the 1.5m physical distancing requirements and keep a record of close contacts. It is also recommended that essential workers wear a facemask when working outside of their vehicle.
The NHVR has undertaken a number of recent changes to assist drivers and operators during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the key changes which have involved us, include protocols for driver facilities to remain open, mapping of service centres with driver facilities, a new Daily Safety Checklist, waiving amenity restriction on curfew permits, and temporary changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme medical and face-to-face audit requirements.
Like all businesses we are continuing a process of on-going assessment of our capabilities and how we can deliver services. However we will ensure we balance the needs of supporting a safe heavy vehicle industry with the need to conduct your operations and businesses during a time of great uncertainty.
Further content on this page
- COVIDSafe plans and work health and safety
- Can we still drive two-up under border restrictions?
- Curfew restrictions lifted
- Operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations
- Are service stations closing their showers and amenities?
- Freeze on fee increases
- NHVAS changes to medical requirements, face-to-face audit requirements and face to face training for fatigue management modules
- Re-registering a NHVAS vehicle in Queensland
- PBS Vehicle Certification and COVID-19
- Roller-brake testing (RBT) calibration relaxed
- Queensland heavy vehicle practical driving tests and free online training
- Are NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers still pulling people over?
- Simple steps to avoid coronavirus?
COVIDSafe plans and work health and safety
Safe Work Australia has information on National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles and work health and safety for various industry sectors and the National COVID‑19 Coordination Commission has also developed a Planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVIDSafe.
Can we still drive two-up under border restrictions?
Two-up driving teams are provided for under the NT, QLD, SA, TAS and WA border restriction exemptions, if they fit in the following exemption category and the two-up operations were in place prior to the commencement of the border restrictions:
- Any person involved in the transport or freight of goods and logistics for goods, into, within and out of states/ territories and practise social distancing wherever possible.
Some states have advised drivers not to carry passengers who aren’t involved in the freight task.
Curfew restrictions lifted
Restrictions lifted on curfew permits in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria - The NHVR has agreed to waive restrictions on all curfew permits, except those related to safety and access, to move general freight and grocery deliveries. For the transport of freight during curfew hours in Victoria, travel must adhere to requirements specified in this Victorian Ministerial order.
Western Australia confirms they have no curfew restriction in place as per their Public Authorities (Delivery of Goods and Collection of Rubbish and Refuse) Directions.
Northern Territory has lifted all restrictions that limit the hours of operation or times of delivery for food and retail businesses imposed through conditions of Development Permits. For more information see NT Planning response to COVID-19 (PDF, 604KB) and COVID-19 quarantine effect on freight and logistics into the Northern Territory (PDF, 571KB).
Officers have also been advised to apply discretion to heavy vehicles which may be parked near distribution centres and supermarkets, unless the heavy vehicle is posing a safety risk.
Operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations
The National Cabinet agreed to provide a national exemption from the general closure of nonessential services for businesses operating a truck driver lounge, truck driver room or similar facility at a roadside service centre or service stations.
These facilities are authorised to continue providing services to heavy vehicle drivers in need of food, showers, restrooms and a place to break from driving to manage their fatigue under the Heavy Vehicle National Law as per the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications' Exemption for heavy vehicle drivers to safely manage fatigue from closures of non-essential services.
The following links provide further information on how this is applied in the relevant state or territory and any variations to the national exemption (list to be expanded as we receive advice from jurisdictions):
- New South Wales - Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales Number 72 Saturday, 4 April 2020 for further information see https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules
- Queensland - Truck driver rest facilities Notice
- South Australia - SA Police directions have been updated to include 'Persons who provide transport or freight services into, within and out of South Australia, are able to consume food and beverages on premises commonly known as truck stops or truck driver lounges, provided that the density requirement is complied with.' Full details can be found at https://www.police.sa.gov.au/sa-police-news-assets/covid-19/updated-restrictions-for-businesses-and-operations-updated-covid-19-direction
- Victoria - Directions from Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease) in accordance with emergency powers arising from declared state of emergency Restricted Activity Directions (No 2) see Subsection 10 – Food and Activities.
Are service stations closing their showers and amenities?
The NHVR has spoken to major fuel companies and they are currently providing additional cleaning for their facilities and remain operational. Drivers should be aware that most have closed their in-store seating areas.
Drivers should call ahead to ensure other roadhouses and their facilities are open.
Some clear advice from BP Australia in regards to health and safety measures, fuel supply and amenities - https://www.bp.com/en_au/australia/home/media/press-releases/monitor-respond-covid19.html
Freeze on fee increases
The NHVR will freeze fee increases for all NHVR provided services until January 2021.
In past years most of our fees have changed on the first of July, however this freeze is another small way we are looking to assist the heavy vehicle industry during this period.
The freeze will apply to:
- All National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) module and nominated vehicle fees
- All access permit applications
- Victorian escort services
- A new Written Work Diary
The list of NHVR fees is available at www.nhvr.gov.au/law-policies/fee-schedule
NHVAS changes to medical requirements, face-to-face audit requirements and face to face training for fatigue management modules
The NHVR is providing temporary changes to National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) medical requirements,face-to-face audit requirements and delivery of face- to-face training for fatigue management modules to reduce the accreditation burden on industry:
These changes are:
- NHVAS and AFM Standards - Temporary change to driver medical requirements (PDF, 154KB) - Heavy vehicle drivers operating under Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) or Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) accreditations may continue to drive with an expired driver medical, until they can practicably obtain one.
- NHVAS and AFM Business Rules - Temporary change to auditing (PDF, 152KB) - Auditors can undertake all document and records validation and audits remotely, requesting electronic copies be emailed to them, or sent by another suitable method, and can conduct conversations over the phone where applicable.
Temporary change to the delivery of face to face training for NHVAS fatigue management modules
A temporary amendment is currently in place to allow NHVAS fatigue management training modules by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to be delivered via video conferencing, due to the requirement of social distancing and restriction related to coronavirus. This applies for NHVR registered RTOs that have approval to deliver NHVAS fatigue management modules TLIF0005 and TLIF0006.
Here is the list of NHVAS approved Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
The list will be regularly updated to include RTOs that have also been endorsed to deliver training by virtual means where required. This temporary change will remain until 30 September 2020 and will be reassessed as the social distancing and isolation restrictions change.
Re-registering a NHVAS vehicle in Queensland
Transport and Main Roads Queensland has released temporary measures for individuals and businesses that have cancelled their heavy vehicle registration due to financial impacts of COVID-19.
The change will allow operators who have de-registered a Queensland-plated vehicle after 29 January 2020, to re-register the vehicle without a Certificate of Inspection (COI).
This temporary measure will be in place for up to six months after the public health emergency declaration is revoked to support operators looking to re-register vehicles as operations return to normal.
This change also applies to vehicles nominated in the NHVAS maintenance management module if the vehicle has been de-registered after 29 January 2020. The unregistered vehicle will be able to remain under the operator’s accreditation, allowing the operator to re-register the vehicle without requiring a COI.
A nominated unregistered vehicle under these changes will:
- need to be captured under the operator’s vehicle register
- meet all the relevant requirements regards maintenance and servicing
- undergo a pre-start inspection or check by the operator prior to returning to service to ensure it is in a safe and serviceable condition.
Note: If a new vehicle is being added to the maintenance management module, a current COI is required.
PBS Vehicle Certification and COVID-19
Vehicle Certification Rules allow, in some instances, certifiers to engage a third party to conduct the physical inspection on their behalf. Where a third party is used as part of the certification process, the certifier remains responsible for certifications and must be in control of each certification.
The NHVR considers physical inspections carried out by the certifier to be best practice, and acknowledges that there may be some risk in engaging a third party to perform these tasks. Where a third party is engaged to perform the inspection, the certifier must understand that they remain responsible for the certification, just as they would had they carried out the inspection themselves.
Please note: Some insurers require the certifier to be at every certification. Certifiers are encouraged to contact their insurer to ensure they remain covered in the event of a third party inspection.
For more information see Information for PBS Assessors and Certifiers - Vehicle Certification and COVID-19 (PDF, 188KB).
Roller-brake testing (RBT) calibration relaxed
The NHVR has granted a temporary relaxation of calibration requirements for roller-brake testing (RBT) equipment.
The NHVR has updated VSG21 - National roller brake testing procedure (PDF, 229KB) to ensure that ongoing testing is reliable while travel restrictions are in place.
Queensland heavy vehicle practical driving tests and free online training
Heavy vehicle practical driving tests resumed in Queensland on Monday 25 May. Bookings will be prioritised for emergency service drivers and those who had tests cancelled due to COVID-19. For more information go to www.qld.gov.au/transport/covid-19-transport/heavy-vehicle-tests
The Queensland Trucking Association is also offering free online training for COVID-19 Hygiene Awareness for Truck & Delivery Drivers. The free course is a valuable training resource to demonstrate you are taking every precaution to implement COVID-19 hygiene protocols to keep your drivers, delivery sites and the community safe. For more information go to www.qta.com.au/COVID19-Training/
Are NHVR Safety and Compliance Officers still pulling people over?
We are currently maintaining our full service levels including our on-road services.
Our on-road team have been provided with disposable rubber gloves and hand sanitiser to be used when conducting road-side activities to reduce any contact or spread of the virus.
Simple steps to avoid coronavirus?
The NHVR is urging heavy vehicle drivers and operators to take steps to maintain their health and wellbeing while health authorities continually update advice on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your staff and colleagues is to practice good hygiene, including:
- washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser
- keeping work areas, eating surfaces and benches clean
- covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing
- avoiding close contact with anyone who has flu-like symptoms
Operators and drivers should carry additional hand sanitiser.
If you become unwell or suspect you may have symptoms of coronavirus, please seek medical assistance regardless of whether you believe you may have come into contact with someone with the illness.
If you are unwell, regardless of the cause, please stay home.
- You can find more information about coronavirus at https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
- You can stay up to date on the latest coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia at https://www.australia.gov.au/