Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water
The Tasmanian Liberal Government has agreed to continue its landmark quarantine arrangement with Victoria which sees Tasmania quarantine seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands, in return for the Victorian Government assuming responsibility for Tasmania’s commitment to assisting Australians returning from overseas.
This agreement has worked successfully since January this year, benefitting both Tasmanian and Victorian agribusinesses and importantly, we have been able to ensure workers for Tasmanian farms have also been prioritised ensuring our fruit and vegetables are harvested.
Under the extension, Tasmania will quarantine an additional 1,500 Pacific workers for Victoria, in exchange for Victoria quarantining around 350 returning Australians on Tasmania’s behalf.
While the employment of local workers remains a key focus for the Tasmanian Government and industry, international seasonal workers continue to be vital to support the local workforce, especially over the peak harvest season.
As a vital contributor to food security, we recognise that seasonal agricultural workers are essential to bolstering our agriculture industry during some of its busiest times. This agreement will not impact the number of seasonal workers required for Tasmanian farms, with those workers continuing to be prioritised.
Importantly, Tasmania has a strong track record of providing hotel quarantine for international seasonal workers and to date we have safely quarantined over 2,300 international seasonal workers, making a significant contribution to the national agricultural workforce which is facing critical shortages.
Both States will continue to play to our strengths under the extension of our agreement, while ensuring our world-class fruit and vegetables are harvested.