Tasmania has struck a "landmark" deal with the Victorian government that will see about 1500 seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands undertake quarantine in Tasmania in the first half of 2021.
Premier Peter Gutwein said the workers would quarantine in government-run hotel quarantine facilities in exchange for the Andrews government assuming responsibility for Tasmania's commitment to assisting with the return of 330 Australians from overseas.
Mr Gutwein said the quarantine costs for the seasonal workers would be borne by the Victorian government, while Tasmania would meet the costs for the returning Australians quarantining in Victoria.
"I do want to thank Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for working with me on this and forming a partnership," Mr Gutwein said.
After the workers' 14-day quarantine period in Hobart is complete, and after they've returned a negative COVID test, they will fly to Victoria.
"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," Mr Gutwein said.
"This represents a good outcome for Tasmania with our hotel quarantine program now solely able to focus on arrivals who represent a lower risk with regard to potential transmission of the virus and importantly our own requirements for seasonal workers will continue to remain the priority and will not be impacted by this agreement.
"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."
Mr Andrews said the agreement would allow Victoria to fill a "workforce gap" and ensure "fruit and vegetables don't go to waste".
"I'm pleased we've been able to work with the Tasmanian government and I'm grateful to Premier Peter Gutwein for his efforts to make it happen," he said.
"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."