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Growers COVID-19 information for horticulture participants

COVID-19 information for horticulture participants

The below alerts and resources are intended to help growers and others in the horticulture industry keep up to date with trusted information in these unusual times – particularly news and updates relating to continuing to operate. We’ll be updating this page with further advice and links as they become available.

Page last updated 2:30pm, 22 April 2020

Scroll down to find the information you need, or skip straight to what you want:

Confirmation that agriculture is an essential service

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment confirms:

“To slow the [COVID-19] outbreak, Australia has introduced restrictions on non-essential gatherings and businesses. Farming, food and beverage production are not impacted. Also exempt are those who support these businesses. These include veterinarians; diesel mechanics; feed and hay production; freight.”


Continuing to operate in these circumstances for horticulture businesses and workers

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment advises:

“All businesses must follow advice from the Department of Health and the relevant state and territory governments. They must:

  • Maintain a minimum distance of 1.5m between people
  • Provide hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins
  • Frequently clean and dispose of waste
  • Limit the amount of people for essential indoor or outdoor gatherings.

Businesses must be able to demonstrate how they are meeting these requirements. They should also develop continuity plans in case more requirements are imposed.”

COVID-19 guides are available:


The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has teamed up with advbisory organisation BDO Australia to deliver a series of webinars to help agriculture businesses minimise the impact of COVID-19. You can register for upcoming webinars and watch recordings of earlier sessions on the BDO website here.

Key tips and advice in addition to the above:

Industry-specific information

These resources have been produced by individual industries, but may be relevant across horticulture. Look for more resources to be added as they become available.


Borders, trade and markets

Market info and insights

Labour updates and resources

  • On Saturday 4 April, the government announced temporary changes to visa arrangements that will help horticulture growers access the workforce needed on farm. More information can be found in this announcement from the Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud and there is information for businesses that employ visa holders available from the Department of Home Affairs here. The arrangements require working holidaymakers and seasonal workers to self-isolate for 14 days before moving between regions.
  • The federal and state governments are currently considering other ways to meet the ongoing workforce needs of the horticulture sector in particular. Growers should look out for opportunities to advise of their current needs, whether that is through your peak industry body or other relevant authority

For businesses taking on new workers, the below resources may assist in addition to the COVID-19 workforce guides linked to further up the page. More will be added as they come to light.


Seasonal horticulture labour demand and workforce study

Hort Innovation has delivered a study to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the horticulture sector in accessing and securing their casual workforce, it’s called the “Seasonal horticulture labour demand and workforce study” (Sept 2020).

Hort Innovation engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct extensive stakeholder consultation across the sector and help build a foundational understanding of the horticulture labour market to proactively support growers in a changing landscape. The study provides an 18-month outlook on the casual labour demand across different regions, to support industry discussion on longer term COVID-19 response.

To request a copy of the study, please contact Anthony Kachenko on (02) 8295 2343 or by email.


Financial and business assistance


Safety of horticultural produce

On Sunday 29 March, Hort Innovation issued a joint media release with Nutrition Australia, CSIRO and AUSVEG regarding the safety of fresh horticultural produce, which can be viewed here: A video with Hort Innovation R&D Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian Jemma O'Hanlon was also shared in Hort Innovation's social media channels, promoting the safety and health benefits of fresh fruits, veggies and nuts:

Importantly, to date there is no evidence that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through food. Food Standards Australia New Zealand has this advice which reports that “so far there is no evidence that people have become infected by swallowing the virus in or on food or drink”.

The NSW Food Authority has prepared this information for food-related businesses in relation to COVID-19:

General COVID-19 information

Mental wellbeing and support

It’s important we all look after ourselves during this strange and potentially very stressful time.

If you are thinking about suicide, for 24/7 support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If your life is in danger, call 000.

Questions and contacts

Growers and other horticulture participants should feel free to reach out to their Hort Innovation Industry Strategic Partner for information about the company's actions and activities for their industry during this national health crisis, and in general. The phone and email details for the partner for your industry can be found on our contacts page here. 

Have we missed something?

If you’d like to see something included on this page that you think will be of use, please reach out to with the details.