Phone Hotline: 13 COVID (13 26 843)
The unprecedented COVID-19 virus has dominated headlines, newsfeeds and radio waves. It can be overwhelming to find the right information to focus on for your business.
The Food Council aims to provide our members and stakeholders with assistance by keeping in touch and keeping information flowing to support you during these uncertain and challenging times.
The WA Government has released WA's four-phase roadmap to help get Western Australians back to work safely and begin the process of restarting the State’s economy. It has been developed in conjunction with the National Cabinet principles and is based on the best health advice for WA.
The team at Vegetables WA have put together an outstanding webpage that is being updated regularly, take a look for the latest info and links for health information as well as financial assistance, labour and human resources information.
The Shire of Manjimup has set up a Facebook group ManjimupCOVID to link the many social media platforms already activated and make it easier for people to connect with information they need. In addition a Recovery email and telephone has been activated being email@example.com and 0499 550 224.
Please contact the Food Council on 08 9772 4180 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any COVID-19 information or resources to share.
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SAFETY
Agriculture and primary production is considered an essential service in WA so is exempt from announced quarantine restrictions on travel across both interstate and intrastate borders.
The National Farmers Federation is maintaining the latest information on interstate border measures, including relevant paperwork, on FarmHub.
The G2G PASS is an initiative of the WA Police to provide an entirely digital solution for applying for a travel pass in order to meet requirements under the interstate and intrastate movement restrictions. For further details and applications visit g2gpass.com.au or email email@example.com or call 13COVID (132 68 43).
PERTH MARKET CITY
The safety and security of food producing areas and the supply chain are paramount in the current climate. Perth Market City is recommending as much business be done over the phone as possible, with inter-personal contact kept to a minimum to avoid exposing staff in the food supply chain.
The Perth Markets are now a restricted access site. This means that only access card holders and those approved by PMGL will be granted access to the site. Further restrictions were also applied to the Central Trading Area (CTA) where only essential personnel are allowed in the common areas.
Key points for food safety when producing fresh food. Food Standards Australia/New Zealand has advised that transmission through food is unlikely and so far, there is no evidence that people have become infected by swallowing the virus in or on food or drink. However, everyone should practise good hygiene when preparing and handling food. It should also be noted that fresh produce should be washed with water not soap before consumption.
Freshcare have put up a web page to be regularly updated with links and resources.
a checklist to provide guidance on how best to manage your teams to limit the COVID-19 infection in the workplace and keep them healthy and supporting the fresh produce supply chain.
As a result of advocacy through industry bodies, such as AUSVEG, the Australian Government have made temporary changes to visa arrangements to help farmers access the workforce they need to secure Australia’s food and produce supply during COVID-19. Further information on the announcement and details on visa changes.
If you employ seasonal workers, check safety procedures with your labour provider to be sure your staff are minimising risk. Growcom have prepared a worker disclosure form you should have workers complete before starting work on your farm. The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) have put together a Workplace Guide which contains basic advice on managing the impact on farming workplaces, including relevant work health and safety and industrial relations considerations.
The Shire of Manjimup is working closely with industry, local businesses and the community to develop a plan to support the region's seasonal workers in need. The Southern Forests community is encouraged to offer support and kindness to all people during these uncertain times.
IOM Perth can assist temporary migrants in Australia to voluntarily return home. This can include getting a passport and a plane ticket home and bus fare to Perth. There is no cost to the person and no negative Immigration record for using our service.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) COVID-19 response site provides relevant resources, links and information for industry. DPIRD have also launched a new jobs in WA food and ag website to monitor and assist with filling skilled and unskilled labour shortages across the agrifood and fisheries supply chain.
FairWork have released the update to awards which have been varied to insert Schedule X—Additional Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
2 weeks of unpaid pandemic leave
the ability to take twice as much annual leave at half their normal pay if their employer agrees.
The schedule in each award applies from an employee’s first full pay period on or after 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020.
The Export Council of Australia (ECA) is collecting information and resources to help Australian businesses involved in export trade prepare for and mitigate any effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business.
The Australian Government is backing Australia’s agriculture and seafood export sectors through a new $110 million initiative to help exporters get their high-quality produce into key overseas markets. See the IFAM fact sheet for further detail.
The Airfreight Assistance Team from Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) is seeking exporters to register and provide information on their airfreight requirements. Please click here to express your interest.
If you have any questions regarding Airfreight Assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS RESOURCES
Announced government assistance to businesses can be found here. This includes:
Instant asset write off up to $150,000
Up to $100,000 cash flow assistance for eligible small-medium businesses with less than $50 million turnover to retain staff
Assistance retaining apprentices and trainees
Early access to superannuation for affected individuals
Speak to your accountant to see if you are eligible.
RSM have put together a page of COVID-19 resources including a 5 point checklist for businesses to be prepared.
The banks are acknowledging the hardships that small businesses are facing and are starting to provide support including:
deferring loan payments
waiving fees and charges
helping with debt consolidation
waiving penalties for early withdrawal of a term deposit, or
deferring upcoming credit card payments and increasing emergency limits
Support measures will depend on the bank you choose.
Business Advisory South West have set up a hotline with four business advisors ready to help, call 1300 275 477 or book at ipsbusinessadvisory.com.au.
This service is free of charge thanks to Small Business Development Corp.
Positive steps small business can make now to prepare for hardship.
Be wary of scams imitating government messages, such as text messages and emails claiming to be from the ATO.
Local restaurants and hospitality businesses have been hit hard with lockdown and social distancing regulations. The restaurant industry is a great consumer of composite or seconds grade product and has been a crucial avenue for raising the profile of the Southern Forests region. Local businesses need your support, consider how you can support restaurants and other businesses in the area.
The WA Government has implemented a staged easing of COVID-19 restrictions based on the best of health advice. From 18 May, 2020, food businesses including cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels, roadhouses, taverns and casino can reopen subject to mandatory conditions, the completion of a COVID Safety Plan, and all staff completing the AHA Hospitality and Tourism COVID-19 hygiene course before returning to work.
The Genuinely Southern Forests Facebook page has a listing of local restaurants and cafes in the Southern Forests offering takeaway and even delivery options.
Buy West Eat Best have compiled a list of all the local BWEB restaurants from who you can now order pick up or delivery, so you can feed your family while also helping theirs. They'll be regularly updating this list, so be sure to visit this link for whenever you're next ordering food.
Australian Hotels Association website provides COVID-19 resources for the hospitality industry.
RESOURCES FOR HOME
Children staying at home can access school resources from the Department of Education website.
The Australian Psychological Society and Beyond Blue has prepared some tips and valuable wellbeing advice on dealing with anxiety around covid-19, and maintaining mental health if needing to physically isolate.
The Head to Health website is a national initiative with specific information on COVID-19 support.
Telstra have acknowledged people around Australia are increasingly working and studying from home or self-isolating as part of the national response to COVID-19, and are giving their consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners.
The Food Council is partnering with Fruit Hub Pty Ltd to deliver genuine fresh local Western Australian fruit and vegetables from the farm to you. The Genuinely Southern Forests Fresh Produce Boxes are initially for pickup and delivery in the Perth metro, with regional deliveries to follow shortly.
CONTACT THE FOOD COUNCIL
Please note that the Food Council office will be open on Tuesday's 9am-4pm.
For any assistance outside of these hours please contact a staff member on the mobile numbers provided in your member updates or if you need to get in touch please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
LOOKING FOR WORK
Seasonal work in the Southern Forests region is now minimal with the peak produce season now coming to a close. We encourage you to register with the following websites and if you require any support or assistance please refer to the following Assistance information.