Department of State Development

Interstate trade

  • As announced by the Premier on 22 March, for non-essential travellers entering South Australia after 4pm on 24 March, a 14-day isolation requirement will apply.
  • Please note that this does not apply to essential travellers, which effectively covers commercial trade – the key requirements are published in the latest cross border travel direction (no.3), which came into effect on 16 April.
  • Key points in Schedule 1 of the above direction for businesses moving goods or needing critical labour are item 4 (transport and freight services) and item 5 (skills critical to maintaining key industries or businesses).
  • Exemptions also apply for essential transport including required health personnel and patients needing essential treatment, active military/defence personnel, FIFO workers, emergency services workers engaged in this capacity, those resident in communities near to the border and for compassionate grounds.
  • Whilst border controls are in place, a member of the public who believes they are an ‘essential traveller’, will be asked to justify their status if they are spoken to by police at a checking point or any other place in the state.
  • Whilst the number of domestic flights have reduced substantially, the implementation of a minimum weekly schedule of domestic flights for eight weeks as announced on 16 April by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, will assist to some extent in urgent cross border trade and essential traveller requirements (this will provide a minimum 10 ADL-MEL and 7 ADL-SYD return flights per week, mainly via Qantas).

Overseas trade

  • Shortages in imported and exported goods are mostly going to come from disrupted production rather than freight impediments.
  • In most areas (but not for some perishables), sea freight will be the beneficiary of reduced air freight capacity due to considerable border closing and flight/route cancellations.
  • Sea freight, whilst facing some challenges, is largely operating without significant impact.
  • Shipping Australia has publicly indicated their concerns with Maritime Safety Queensland requirements that exclude cargo ships until 14 days have passed since their last international port stop. The national requirement, as applied in South Australia, is that ships may dock, but crews must not leave the vessel if another international port has been visited inside the 14-day period.
  • All scheduled international passenger air services into and out of Adelaide Airport have been suspended. Various international services are scheduled to resume in May and June, but suspensions are likely to be extended.
  • Only a small component of air freight is transported on dedicated cargo flights, which are usually considerably more expensive (even if available), so many perishable goods exporters will continue to face extreme challenges to export.
  • Fake documents, claiming to be advice from the Australian Border Force (ABF), have been circulated online, suggesting the ABF has prohibited the commercial export of items such as infant formula, toilet paper and various medical/hygiene supplies.
  • Download the ABF statement that says no goods have been prohibited for legitimate commercial export as a result of COVID-19. The ABF provides advice on prohibited goods or those requiring written permission and specific conditions for export.
  • Note that for non-commercial exportation, on 30 March 2020, an amendment was made to the items declared as prohibited exports under the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958:
    • A temporary prohibition will apply on the non-commercial export of certain goods that contribute to controlling and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
    • This includes various personal protective equipment (e.g. disposable face masks/gloves/gowns and protective visors) and alcohol wipes and sanitisers.
    • Exemptions apply and include export by an Australian manufacturer of such goods, along with personal use.
  • Businesses that import medical or hygiene supplies that are capable of use in treating, diagnosing or combating the spread of COVID-19 can have their customs import duty waived for eligible items.  This temporary measure applies to all eligible imports arriving from 1 February 2020 (i.e. backdating to this date is permissible), up to 31 July 2020 – for further info see Customs notice No. 2020/20.

Export Market Development Grants

  • On 1 April, the Australian Government announced expanded funding (an additional $49.8 million) to the Export Market Development Grant program to effectively allow exporters and tourism operators to get additional reimbursements than they would normally be eligible for.
  • For applications lodged in the coming 2020-21 financial year, a business can claim expenses even if events they were to participate in were cancelled due to events beyond their control.
  • Applications lodged by eligible businesses in the 2020-21 financial year will:
    • be able to claim expenses for 2019-20 even if events have been cancelled due to circumstances beyond a business’s control.
    • not have the usual Export Performance Test applied, given when expenses were occurred, greater export income would have been anticipated.
  • The funding addresses the reality that for many businesses that have invested in growing their exports during 2019-20, the recent events mean many will not see immediate return on this investment.

Frequently asked questions

Transport and freight services are still operating into South Australia. Transport and freight are considered an ‘essential traveller’ service.

There is no application process for exemptions and a self-assessment process applies. Persons entering South Australia may be stopped by police at checkpoints and essential travellers will be required to provide evidence of their status. If they are unable to provide evidence, they will be directed to self-quarantine.

FIFO workers are considered Essential Travellers under Schedule 1 (5) Skills critical to maintaining key industries or businesses and except from self-quarantining. For further information visit SAPOL or email