Australia continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, with tight restrictions for valuations across some parts of the country.
With ever-changing lockdowns causing confusion amongst property professionals, ANZPJ has compiled a state-by-state breakdown of the best advice currently available for what each government is currently permitting for those performing valuations.
Melbourne’s tougher restrictions came into effect at 11:59pm on Monday, August 16, and will be in place until September 2.
As part of the new restrictions, playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and outdoor exercise equipment will be closed and people will no longer be allowed to remove their masks to consume alcohol outdoors. A curfew is also in force from 9:00pm to 5:00am each day.
There are still only five reasons to leave your home: shopping for the things you need – one person per household per day, care and caregiving, exercise, authorised work and study – and to get a vaccine.
Exercise and shopping are still limited to 5km from your home. If there’s no shops in your five kilometre radius, you can travel to the ones closest to you. You are also able to travel more than five kilometre to get a vaccine if you need to. Visitors to the home are also banned.
Permits will be required to leave the house for authorised work, consistent with the arrangements that were in place last year.
Authorised workers will be required to carry permits when working, and when travelling for work, from 11:59pm on Tuesday August 17. The permits need to be certified by an employer.
For two weeks, red zone travel from NSW will be banned, save only for permitted essential workers and approved compassion exemptions – approved freight trucks can still cross the border, but drivers will be tested for COVID-19 every three days.
Employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility.
An employee does not need a worker permit if an employee is at risk at home, such as at risk of family violence, law enforcement, emergency services or health care workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer.
An employee must not use a worker permit and must not attend work, even if they have been issued a permit, if they test positive to COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate or they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and are required to self-isolate
Penalties of up to $21,808 (for individuals) and $109,044 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.
There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,817 (for individuals) and up to $10,904 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the scheme requirements. This includes employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.
As Victoria has now moved to a permit system, it is imperative valuers carry a work permit on them at all times when conducting valuation work.
A work permit must be filled out by your employer and provided to you – sole traders are instructed to fill in the permit as both employer and employee.
Under the rules of the permit, valuers are able to continue to conduct physical inspections of property where work is essential to the continued operation of an authorised provider such as a financial institution, court, tribunal or commission services, an electorate office, Victorian Parliament, services which operate solely outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
“We strongly reinforce our earlier advice relating to our virtual valuation protocols which, enable members to conduct a full physical valuation without entering a premises,” said a spokesperson from the Australian Property Institute.
“Furthermore, we still recommend members carry our letter of support to provide further evidence of the necessity of valuation work in providing continuity to our critical industries.”
There are restrictions regarding those needing to cross into New South Wales under Victoria’s travel permit system.
Residents of the NSW-Victoria cross border community area are currently required to obtain a Cross Border Extreme Risk Zone permit to enter Victoria – including if they are Victorian residents returning home. Those not following these conditions face a fine.
Residents of the South Australia/Victoria cross border community are not required to obtain a permit to enter Victoria as long as they comply with entry conditions.
Regardless of the zone the person has been in, they can’t get a permit to enter Victoria if have COVID-19 or have any COVID-19 symptoms, have been to an exposure site listed on the website of the state or territory that is experiencing an outbreak or have been deemed a close contact that requires you to quarantine for 14 days.
New South Wales
A raft of new rules have be introduced in response to the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in NSW with penalties for breaches set to be some the highest in the country.
From 12:01am Monday, August 16, anyone in Greater Sydney – including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour – can only shop, exercise or engage in outdoor recreation within their local government area (LGA) or, if outside your LGA, within five kilometres of your home.
This rule does not apply to visiting your chosen singles bubble buddy or your intimate partner.
If you’re in a LGA of concern – Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and parts of Penrith the five-kilometre rule stays in place, however only exercise and supervision of children is allowed outdoors, not “recreation”.
From 12:01am, Saturday August 16, those using the single bubble in these 12 LGAs must register their buddy with the government – the buddy must not live more than five kilometres from you and the five-kilometre rules does not apply to intimate partners.
If you live in the local government areas of Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield or some suburbs of Penrith (LGAs of concern), you can only leave the local government area you live in to go to work if the business is allowed to be open and if you are an authorised worker.
A list of authorised workers for those in these 12 local government areas of concern and their exempted activities can be found here.
In Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas, employers must require an employee to work from home if the employee is reasonably able to do so.
Inspections may be allowed, however they must be conducted by private appointment for one person only. There are no specific details around valuation inspections – for further clarification, contact the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
You must follow the stay at home rules if you live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
If you do not live in, usually work in, or usually attend a university or other tertiary education facility in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour, the NSW rules apply.
Businesses who allow employees to work when they are reasonably able to work from home face fines of $10,000 for corporations and $2,000 for individuals.
Outside of a restricted LGA, valuers are required to work from home if they are reasonably able to do so.
“As a physical valuation cannot reasonably be conducted from your home, according to the guidelines on the NSW website you should be able to continue operating uninterrupted,” said Ms Hodge.
Valuers living within a restricted LGA or needing to travel into a restricted LGA, will need to be on the NSW government’s list of authorised workers.
These are specified as a worker employed or engaged to provide a service that is necessary for a listed activity, such as public administration and safety, the administration of justice, critical legal services, Services NSW (including land tax and rate notices) and financial services
“Valuers undertaking relevant work are covered by these clauses,” Ms Hodge said.
If you live in NSW regional and rural areas, you must have a reasonable excuse to enter Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas.
If you enter these areas for any reason, stay at home rules will also apply to you for 14 days after you were last in any of these areas.
For NSW border zone residents, entry into QLD is only permittable if you are an essential worker, or cannot reasonably obtain health, goods or services in NSW. To permit entry into QLD, essential workers must have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine.
“If you are a New South Wales border zone valuer that has been asked to conduct a valuation that requires travel across a border, it is recommended you refer the work to a valuer located within Queensland. Should that not be practically possible, you should be able to cross as an essential worker,” she said.
A full detailed list of border restrictions can be found here.
Restrictions for valuations exist as the Canberra COVID-19 cluster grows, ACT has it extended its lockdown for two weeks – until at least September 2.
The six essential reasons you can leave your home during this lockdown are to buy essential groceries and medicine, to access essential healthcare including in-home care, for essential work, to exercise outdoors for one hour per day in your region, to get a COVID-19 test or vaccination.
If you live outside the ACT in one of the approved NSW postcodes (listed here), you can enter the ACT for the approved essential reasons under the lockdown restrictions. You must carry identification with you at all times to prove your residency; ACT Policing will be conducting compliance checks.
Essential workers entering or leaving lockdown areas may do so to perform their work. If you can work from home, you must work from home.
The government has defined essential workers and a list of essential business permitted to operate, with a selection of these possibly applying to valuation work.
- Fulfill or undertake any legal obligations (eg to attend any court or tribunal of Australia).
- To assist with or participate in an investigation or other action by a law enforcement authority, whether voluntarily or not.
- To comply with or give effect to the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law.
- To undertake essential work or study, if they cannot work or study from home or remotely.
ACT’s official COVID-19 government website also says real estate in-person inspections are banned, however online inspections are permitted.
Anyone entering the ACT after 5:00pm Thursday 12 August 2021 will need to follow the lockdown restrictions in the ACT.
If the person has been in any area subject to travel directions, they must also follow the requirements of those travel directions.
ACT Policing will be undertaking compliance checks across the ACT and you will be expected to provide proof of residential address and the reason you are moving about the ACT community.
Those travelling, must regularly check the public health advice in the state or territory they are visiting or travelling from.
Canberra has entered into a lockdown after a spike in cases.
Queensland has closed its border with all of NSW, effective from 1am on July 23, with police checkpoints in place in key locations along the Queensland/NSW border to ensure the correct passes are being used. The state has also declared all of South Australia, Victoria and Greater Sydney as hotspots.
As of 4pm AEST Wednesday 11 August, until 4pm AEST Sunday 22 August, two LGAs in Far North Queensland and 11 Local Government Areas in South East Queensland will be subject to continued restrictions.
These LGAs include: Cairns Regional Council, City of Brisbane, Moreton Bay Regional Council, City of Gold Coast, City of Ipswich, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Logan City, Noosa Shire Council, Redland City, Scenic Rim Regional Council, Somerset Regional Council, Sunshine Coast Regional Council and Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council.
There are no restrictions for valuations in Queensland outside of border closures, capacity limits and masks.
Queensland has declared New South Wales, Victoria and parts of the Northern Territory as red zones meaning those who have been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days or since the start date identified for the hotspot (whichever is shorter) will not be allowed to enter Queensland, except for a limited range of essential purposes.
Queensland residents who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot can return home by air and new residents can relocate to Queensland if they complete 14 days mandatory quarantine, monitor the list of interstate exposure venues daily and complete the Queensland entry pass.
If you are entering Queensland from interstate or New Zealand, you will have to follow specific rules if you have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot (a local government area or entire state or territory), an interstate exposure venue (a specific location in another state, territory or safe travel zone country) or a declared place of concern (a local government area or region).
New South Wales border zone residents can only cross the border for a permitted purpose. Likewise, Queensland residents can only enter the New South Wales border zone for a permitted purpose.
To enter the state, the person must complete a Queensland entry pass, get tested if you develop any COVID-19 symptoms after arriving in Queensland and monitor the list of interstate exposure venues daily (at least once every 24 hours) from the time you complete a declaration and for 14 days after arriving in Queensland.
When you receive your Queensland entry pass via email, you must read all instructions and be able to access it at all times (either in a printed version or on an electronic device).
Brisbane has exited lockdown and is running with capacity limits.
Western Australia has imposed a hard border with Victoria and South Australia, and has further tightened its borders with NSW by limiting exemptions for people hoping to cross the border including returning WA residents.
Under the previous border regulations, exempt travellers were allowed to enter WA from NSW, including people on compassionate grounds, however the state government said travellers would now need to show “extenuating circumstances” to enter WA.
There are no restrictions for performing valuations outside of border closures.
Currently Western Australia deems NSW to be a high risk jurisdiction, meaning you are not permitted to enter without an approval through G2G PASS.
If permitted entry, the person must self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days. If a suitable premises is not available, the person will be directed to a government approved quarantine facility at your own expense.
Approved travellers must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test in the 72 hours prior to departure and proof of receipt of at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, where eligible. There will also need to be COVID-19 tests on day two and day 12 of quarantine.
Travellers from medium risk jurisdictions are not permitted to enter unless approved – this currently includes ACT, Queensland and Victoria.
Valuers from these states are not permitted to enter without an approval through G2G PASS. If permitted entry, they must self-quarantine at a suitable premises for 14 days. If a suitable premises is not available, you will be directed to a Government approved quarantine facility at your own expense.
Approved travellers are subject to a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of quarantine, or at any point when symptoms develop. A mask must be worn while travelling to and from the COVID Clinic – the person must wear a mask from when they arrive at suitable self-quarantine premises.
South Australia is considered a low risk jurisdiction, requiring travellers to complete a mandatory G2G PASS registration and declaration, a health screening on arrival. The person must also verify they have suitable premises for self-quarantine and enter self-quarantine for 14 days. If not, they will be directed to enter a Government-approved quarantine facility at your own expense for 14 days.
Travellers are subject to a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and on day 12 of quarantine, or at any point when symptoms develop.
Every other state and territory can enter the state if they complete a registration and health check on arrival. There is no quarantine required.
No one from NSW, the ACT or Victoria may enter Tasmania unless they have special permission from the deputy state controller.
No one who has been at a declared high risk premises during a public exposure period, in any state, is allowed to travel to Tasmania – including residents.
Tasmanian residents who have been in the locked down areas of Brisbane and south-east Queensland can apply for an essential traveller permit to return and must complete 14-days quarantine on arrival.
There are no restrictions for performing valuations outside of border closures.
The COVID outbreaks on the mainland have led Tasmanian health authorities to ban travellers from Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and anyone from the Northern Territory who has been in Greater Darwin and Katherine.
Travellers who have spent time in a high-risk area or premise need to provide information to help determine entry and quarantine requirements for travel to Tasmania – applications should be submitted at least five business days and not more than seven days before the person plans to travel to Tasmania.
Only returning Tasmanian residents and anyone deemed an essential traveller can receive a G2G pass to enter the state from those jurisdictions.
Approved travellers who have spent time in a high-risk area in the 14 days before arriving in Tasmania, travellers will have to quarantine in a government-designated facility or a suitable premises.
Western Australia and South Australia are deemed low risk, meaning travellers who have only spent time in low-risk areas in the 14 days prior to arrival are not required to quarantine upon arrival.
Restrictions will be in place until 12pm on 26 August 2021 for high-risk activities to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our community. This date has been chosen as it represents one replication cycle, or 14 days from the first positive case in the Territory.
All businesses and places where customers and clients visit need to use The Territory Check-In App. Pen and paper will still be permitted. You are required to check in everywhere you go, no matter how long you spend at that location.
From 12pm today there will be no restrictions on the reasons to leave home if you live in Greater Darwin but staying COVIDSafe remains important.
To protect the NT community Katherine has entered into an additional 24-hour lockdown period.
For everyone in the lockdown area, masks must be worn if you leave your place of residence for one of these five reasons.
All businesses, retail outlets, hospitality venues, gyms, pools and community centres are closed. Cafes and restaurants are able to offer take-away and delivery services. Schools will be closed except for the children of essential workers. Childcare centres will open only for the children of essential workers.
Anyone caught breaching directions – including not wearing a mask – faces a $5,000 fine.
Essential workers entering or leaving lockdown areas may do so to perform their work. If you can work from home, you must work from home.
If you are not an essential worker, you are permitted to make a single visit to retrieve a computer or work material from your workplace to allow you to be able to work from your home.
A full list of essential workers and purposes approved for work can be found here.
Strict new border controls are in place for all arrivals to the Territory from Monday 9 August, including returning Territorians.
People can only be allowed to enter the Northern Territory if they are a returning Territorian or have received an approved exemption to enter from the CHO.
All arrivals to the Northern Territory must also fill in a Border Entry Form – exemptions to enter the Northern Territory may take up to 72 hours to process.
There are no new cases in South Australia and the state is currently under Level 1 restrictions requiring residents to wear masks and maintain physical distance.
There are no restrictions for valuations in South Australia outside of border closures.
All travellers who have been in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales are currently prohibited from entering South Australia – except for essential travellers and some permitted arrivals.
Travellers other than those deemed essential may apply for an exemption from SA Health, which may approve travel to South Australia.
Any person arriving from Western Australia, Tasmania is permitted to enter South Australia without restriction as long as they have not been in a restricted zone in the past 14 days.
South Australia has also closed its border to travellers from several local government areas in the Northern Territory as of 6:00pm Monday night.
For more information on valuations during the coronavirus pandemic, head to the Australian Property Institute’s COVID-19 Hub.