G2G Pass – Electronic Licensing System for COVID-19 Travel Restrictions in WA

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WA and Commonwealth Government have implemented a range of travel restrictions that affect travel across Western Australia.

The key travel restrictions are being enforced through the following measures:

            — Restricts interstate arrivals into WA, with exemptions (including for FIFO) with mandated  14 day quarantine
            — Includes establishing a border at Commonwealth waters beyond the 3 nautical mile.

            — Restricts travel between different Regional Development Commission Boundaries in WA unless otherwise exempt
            — Perth & Peel Regions are treated as a single region

            — Restricts travel to Esperance (even from within the Goldfields region) unless otherwise exempt

            — Restricts travel between the four Shires of the Kimberley region (even from an adjoining Kimberley Shire) unless otherwise exempt

            — Restricts movement in to the following three Designated Biosecurity Areas unless otherwise approved: Kimberley, far East Pilbara, Ngaanyatjarraku

Passage for exempted travel for all of the above restrictions can now be managed through the new “G2G Pass” electronic licensing system as officially announced by the Premier Mark McGowan today.

The G2G Pass website is now available at: https://g2gpass.com.au/ and provides:


Additional travel restrictions not managed through G2G Pass

Additionally, there are travel restrictions for remote Aboriginal communities through the Remote Aboriginal Communities Direction No. 2 – however these travel restrictions are not managed through the G2G Pass system. Similarly, international travel restrictions are separately managed through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
 

Benefits of the electronic licensing system

Key benefits of transitioning within a reasonable timeframe to the electronic system from the current paper-based company letters, forms, ID, uniform etc process include:

  • Use of electronic licences will allow WA Police to scan the QR Codes from a distance achieving better social distancing and public health outcomes for WA Police and your employees.
  • Individuals with electronic licences will be “fast-tracked” through border checks saving time and improving efficiency.
  • Outcomes from the check point (ie whether or not an employee will be permitted to pass) will be more consistent and known in advance. The electronic licences clearly indicate which region(s) the person is allowed travel through and hence will not rely on case by case assessment by a WA Police Officer at the time of the crossing having to work through paperwork to assess eligibility for exemptions and determine an outcome.
     

Interim arrangements – ongoing use of company letters, photo identification (etc)

Currently, exempted travel is being progressed through the use various forms, company letters, travel documentation, photo ID etc. This existing process can still continue for your employees and contractors whilst electronic licences are being obtained. There is no hard “cut-off” date that has been determined after which these paper-based systems will cease to work.

It has been noted however that implementation of the current paper-based systems has been patchy and outcomes have been mixed. Additionally, it is expected that it will take companies some days to gather necessary data to complete bulk uploads and some days for WA Police to verify and assess applications.

In the interim, employees and contractors should continue to use their paper-based processes.

Once enough electronic licences have been issued, WA Police will be looking to a fast lane / slow lane model so those with electronic licences can be fast tracked through border check points.
 

Bulk upload for employees (medium and large businesses)

For companies with 20+ employees that must travel for work, a bulk upload option is available. The G2G Pass website provides an excel spreadsheet template which can be completed and returned to WA Police for this process. WA Police will load approved exempted travellers in to the G2G Pass system which will send them an email with their individual licence in both pdf format and with instructions to access it via the App (with supporting instructions).

If you are completing a bulk upload for your company and your company is in the resources sector, this guidance may assist you complete the task more efficiently.

Several members have taken part in a “soft launch” of the bulk upload process over the last few days to allow for testing of the system. If your company has commenced as part of the “soft launch” or “tranche 1” process, you can still continue this upload and do not need to re-commence the process through the website. This soft  launch has allowed for development of the above-mentioned guidance to assist the resources sector successfully complete the bulk upload spreadsheet.
 

Potential issues and common questions

Based on feedback received through the soft launch, the following represent potential issues which may be encountered.

1. Employees do not have company issued mobiles or company issued phones

All individuals must have a unique email and mobile assigned in the bulk upload. There are several options you can use if employee(s) do not have a company-issued email and/or mobile:

  • You may generate work emails for those employees that do not have company emails
  • You may use a personal email address for the employee if they consent to you using a personal email address
  • You may use a personal mobile number for those employees that do not have a company issued mobile if they consent to you using a personal mobile number.

You must not use a central company email or phone number as the “individual” email or phone number as this will result in the upload application being rejected.

2. Employees do not have a smart phone so cannot download the App

All approved licence holders will be sent an email with a pdf version of their QR Code which they can print and use instead of the App / display via a smart phone. This QR Code will still be scannable by WA Police.

3. Employees do not give consent for the company to provide their data to WA Police

If the employee does not consent to the company providing their data through your company to WA Police, the individual can apply via the https://g2gpass.com.au/ and provide their data direct to the WA Police. This will result in the employee being assessed as an individual applicant and hence assessment of their application may take longer depending on how many other individual applicants WA Police have in their assessment queue.
If the employee does not consent to the company providing their data, the company must not include the individual in their bulk upload application.

Further information about data privacy including storage, usage and destruction of data (post-pandemic) by WA Police is available on the https://g2gpass.com.au/

4. Employees do not have access to their work email at home or does not have access to a printer at home

The existing paper-based system can be used and hence employees will still be able to travel under that process until such time as they can log in at work or access a printer at work (etc).
It may be beneficial for employers to assist their employees onsite to download and print their pdf QR Codes.

5. Employees are asked to display their QR Code at a road block / check point where there is no mobile reception

After the app has first been loaded, the QR code issued remains visible with or without a network connection. Employees can also see their G2G Pass in the app at all times and a PDF copy of their G2G pass was emailed to the employee following approval of their application.

6. Employees travel by air, not road, so do not drive through a “border check” – do I still need to include them?

Yes. All employees that must travel across a “border” for work purposes must have a G2G Pass or other relevant documentation regardless of the method of travel – road, air, rail, sea – as the current travel restrictions (interstate, regional, biosecurity and sub-regional) apply regardless of the travel method.

Some company charter flights have been met upon arrival at private airstrips inside a mining lease by WA Police and all passengers on that flight have been required to provide relevant G2G Passes or other documentation to demonstrate their legitimate need to travel for work purposes.

Additionally, WA Police are conducting random checks across WA and hence an employee can be stopped at any point (not just at a road border check) and asked to provide evidence such as a G2G Pass to demonstrate they are permitted to be in the area.

Further FAQs for the general public are available here: https://g2gpass.com.au/faq


Contractors

It is strongly recommended that resource sector companies work with their critical contractors to ensure they are aware of the G2G Pass electronic system to minimise potential travel impacts on their contractors. Several large contractors frequently used by the resources sector did participate in the “soft launch” and have already commenced loading their personnel required to travel for work purposes.

If a contractor company is small (less than 20 employees requiring travel), the contracting company should ask their employees to apply via the individual application process.

Resource sector companies can load “embedded” contractors however the resource sector company must still be able to obtain consent, must have direct responsibility over the embedded contractor and will be responsible for removal of the embedded contractors G2G Pass electronic licence if the embedded contractor cease working for the resource sector company (ie the company takes on full responsibility for that embedded contractor as if they were an employee).
 

Spouses / partners required to travel to assist transport of an employee

Resources sector companies should not load the spouses / partner of their employees that are involved in the transit.

Spouses and partners who support employees with their travel (eg airport drop offs and fatigue management for driving), should apply for an individual licence via the G2G Pass online system.

This will allow the spouse / partner to travel across a regional border in transit both with the employee, and unaccompanied for the return journey.

All spouses / partners should carry with them the relevant travel documents of the employee to ensure they can validate their need for travel on that day. WA Police have agreed that the partner of a FIFO/DIDO employee is performing an essential service by driving the workers to / from the Airport or, in the case of DIDO, to/from the place of employment.  Approval to pass through a border crossing/s will be granted in these circumstances to travel directly to and from the relevant location by the most direct route and the approval will not extend to general travel throughout the region (ie: it must be in transit only). This will not permit wider travel in the region and no other stops such as visiting family and friends will be permitted. In this instance, the spouse / partner is deemed to be an exempt traveller as they performing an essential service where travel “is necessary for the person to do so for the purpose of attending the person’s place of employment or fulfilling the duties of the person’s employment, office or occupation” (exemption category (b)).

In the interim (until spouses / partners receive their individual licence), spouses / partners should continue to carry their existing paper-based declarations and the employees travel documentation with them until such time as the electronic licensing system and App are available for more public use.