Agribusiness continuity planning

Preparing agribusinesses for COVID-19 incidents

It is expected that COVID-19 cases will appear throughout Queensland as its borders start to open up to domestic and international visitors. This presents an increased risk to agribusinesses and the supply of food and fibre, due to potential staff absences and lockdowns to manage cases. It is important that agribusinesses put in place measures now, including business continuity planning, to minimise the impacts on their operations.

Business continuity planning involves developing a practical plan for how your business can prepare for, and continue to operate after a COVID-19 incident. A business continuity plan will help you to:

  • identify and prevent, or reduce, risks where possible
  • prepare for risks that you can't control
  • respond and recover if a COVID-19 incident occurs.

This site provides resources and information to help Queensland agribusinesses prepare and respond to future COVID-19 incidents in line with Queensland's COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families with borders reopening.

Business planning for meat processing facilities

Meat processing facilities play a critical role in the supply of food across the state. Businesses can minimise service disruptions caused by COVID-19 by adopting a business continuity plan to respond to future incidents.

Safe Food Queensland has a number of resources to support you in developing your plan, including:

  • response protocol for a confirmed case at a red meat processing establishment
  • COVID-19 impact mitigation and risk matrix guide
  • guideline and checklist for reducing workforce impacts related to COVID-19
  • communication advice for a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • deep clean guide in response to a COVID-19 exposure

These resources step you through core considerations for food businesses so that you can protect your staff, your business and your community so we all can be COVID safe.

For further advice on how to prepare your food business for COVID-19, contact Safe Food Queensland on 1800 300 815.

When developing your business continuity plan, consider the following:

  • cleaning and sanitation - adopt hygiene practices in the workplace by providing sanitation products (e.g. hand sanitiser/wipes), and maintain cleaning of onsite equipment and work spaces
  • impact scenarios - plan for how you will operate with a reduced workforce, upskill employees to address capability gaps, identify opportunities to source equipment and resources locally or from multiple providers should your normal arrangements be impacted
  • support staff - plan how you will manage staff movements and interactions, provide interpreter and translation services for culturally and linguistically diverse workers, review sick leave and care arrangements for employees who test positive, or are a close contact of a case.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has developed checklists for employers and employees that details what measures you can adopt right now, and responding to an incident. These checklists are available in the Resources section of this page.

Webinar videos are also available to step you through each stage of developing a business continuity plan, including:

  • business continuity planning and managing disruptions to the supply chain
  • strategies to document your business continuity planning
  • evaluating and refining your business continuity plan
  • monitoring your business continuity response to COVID-19
  • assisting with post COVID-19 recovery. 

A business continuity plan template is available in the Resources section of this page.

Taskforce to support agribusinesses prepare for COVID-19

The Queensland Agribusiness Continuity Taskforce is a forum for planning, coordinating and responding to issues that may arise as Queensland opens its borders in line with its COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to Unite Families.

The Taskforce is chaired by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Safe Food Queensland, and members include industry representative bodies, associated supply chain stakeholders, state and local government agencies.

The Taskforce will receive advice on responses to incursions, resources for business continuity planning, and impacts on the Queensland food supply chain.

Actions identified for the Taskforce will be followed up out of session, and solutions and next steps brought back to the Taskforce for sharing with their stakeholders and industry members.

Updates on outcomes, information and tools produced by the Taskforce will be published on this site, so we encourage you to check back regularly.