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Karen Andrews MP clarifies essential services for APPMA members

Earlier this week, the APPMA were fielding enquiries surrounding the Stage 1 and 2 restrictions put in place by Federal and State Government to ensure the community’s safety during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a result of such enquiries, we reached out to Karen Andrews, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology to seek clarity surrounding these announcements. 

We sought feedback on the below questions:

  • Provide clarification with regards to our members’ ability to remain operational;
  • Advise what members require in regards to documented confirmation regarding their business operations;
  • If member companies are considered an “essential service”, can they cross closed interstate borders; and
  • If so, are those that do (e.g. truck drivers) able to forego the 14-day quarantine period?

We are pleased to say that, Karen Andrews MP, by way of her adviser, has responded to the APPMA’s enquiry. The response received is detailed below, we hope the information provides clarity of the situation and assists in your business operations. 


“Currently, all businesses except those deemed as non-essential are permitted to operate. The business.gov.au website will be updated should further restrictions be put in place.

There is currently not a formal process for awarding essential status, nor do we envisage declaring it for individual businesses or industries on a case-by-case basis.

However, you can be assured that the Minister is very aware of the need to ensure that those who service and contribute to the continued operation of manufacturing supply chains for food and health, or support the provision of those services or other vital community infrastructure, must remain operational at all times for the benefit of the community.  Your members would certainly fit in that category.

We understand this is a challenging time for all Australians and thank you for your continuing contributions to the Australian community.”


Minister Andrews did not address the question surrounding interstate borders. After thorough research, the APPMA believes this is because the borders are controlled on a State and Territory level.  Therefore, the APPMA advises that until we are able to receive a confirmed answer, that members check the relevant State and Territory information. 

Information relating directly to the closure of State and Territory borders can be found via the links below:

The APPMA assures members that we will continue to seek further information around COVID-19 and how it may affect our members and the industry in general. 

Please Note: National Cabinet will consider the need for any further measures at their next meeting on Friday 27 March 2020. Updates on the National Cabinet can be found here.