Victoria and Tasmania sign landmark deal on farm workers

By Our Reporter
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Photo by LAMBROS LYRARAKIS

In a landmark agreement, Victoria and Tasmania have agreed to a new arrangement to return Australians and seasonal workers that will see Victoria’s farms receive the workers they need without impacting on the Tasmanian seasonal worker program, while also ensuring 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, an official press release said.

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.


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