Victoria and Tasmania strike deal on seasonal workers

Victoria and Tasmania strike deal on seasonal workers

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made an agreement with Tasmania over seasonal workers.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made an agreement with Tasmania over seasonal workers.

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Victoria and Tasmania reach agreement for seasonal workers and return Australians

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Victoria and Tasmania have agreed to a new arrangement to return Australians and seasonal workers, in a bid to ensure Victoria's farms receive the workers they need without impacting on the Tasmanian seasonal worker program.

The deal will also ensure more Australians can return home from overseas.

Under the deal between the two governments, an initial 1,500 workers from the Pacific Islands will undertake quarantine interstate before arriving in Victoria for vital harvest work on farms across the state.

The Tasmanian Government will quarantine workers from the Pacific Islands in government-designated facilities over the first half of 2021, with costs borne by the Victorian Government and agricultural industry.

In return, the Victorian Government will facilitate Tasmania's commitment towards getting Australians who are overseas home, which currently stands at 330 travellers.

Upon completion of the 14-day quarantine period and with a confirmed negative test for coronavirus, workers will be transferred on flights to Victoria, managed by the Victorian Government.

The repatriated Australians will undertake their 14-day quarantine arrangements in Victoria's hotel quarantine system.

The costs of this will be borne by the Tasmanian Government, with all necessary approvals and logistics to facilitate the arrivals to be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Victorian Government will undertake a cost-sharing arrangement with the agricultural industry for the quarantine of workers, so expenses are not completely shouldered by farmers.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer and Tasmania's Director of Public Health will finalise the conditions of quarantining seasonal workers and their countries of origin, and farmers will finalise the necessary paperwork and approvals with the Commonwealth before workers begin to arrive in Tasmania.

Victoria's Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and Tasmania's Department of Premier and Cabinet will work together to establish the logistics of getting workers onto farm and invoicing.

The arrangement is subject to final consultation and agreement by the Federal Government, as the responsible government for the Pacific Mobility Schemes and worker movements.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he was pleased to work with the Tasmanian government.

"Victorian growers are facing a bumper crop this season, some for the first time in years," he said.

"This is a critical step towards filling that workforce gap and ensuring fruit and vegetables don't go to waste.

"This arrangement isn't a silver bullet in addressing this season's challenges, but it will ease some of the pressure being felt by farmers."

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said it was a good outcome for Tasmania as the hotel quarantine program could now solely focus on arrivals with a lower risk of potential transmission.

"Importantly our own requirements for seasonal workers will continue to remain the priority and will not be impacted by this agreement," he said.

"Under the Agreement with Victoria, Tasmania will assist Victoria to ensure it has the workforce it needs to harvest its produce, while still contributing to the national repatriation effort to bring our people home, ensuring more of our stranded Australians can reunite with their loved ones."

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