Western Australian Minister for Agriculture Alannah MacTiernan has confirmed that Tongan workers have been given the green light to fly into WA in mid-May.
vegetablesWA president Damir Kuzmicich said he was extremely grateful that the Minister went into bat for the WA horticulture industry after the State Government announced last week that there was no longer the capacity to accommodate seasonal workers in its managed hotel quarantine system.
“We are so grateful to the Minister for her perseverance behind the scenes, working with the Department of Health, the Chief Health Officer and the Premier’s office to secure the upcoming flight,” Mr Kuzmicich said.
Minister MacTiernan told industry this week that she is working with the Minister for Health, Roger Cook, to find another Perth city hotel that meets quarantine requirements to ensure the safety of the WA community.
Mr Kuzmicich said the government has indicated that it views the risk profile of the people coming in from Pacific nations as less than those coming in from India and the USA.
“We have been told that we can be very optimistic about June and July flights and continuing these charters throughout 2021.
“We are hoping for two more flights from Vanuatu in June and early July, and this is exactly the kind of information we need to be able to plan our crops.
“The approval of flights into WA means that growers will be able to plan for their labour requirements for the rest of the year, which gives them the certainty to be able to produce and harvest their crops.
“We look forward to continuing our good working relationship with the Minister, and her office, as we work towards securing our ongoing labour needs.”
Workers on the Tonga flight, scheduled for mid-May, will travel to the following regions:
20 workers to Carnarvon to assist with table grapes
95 workers to Margaret River to support vineyards
6 workers to Harvey to support the citrus industry
41 workers to Gingin to support the berry industry
Amber Atkinson, vegetablesWA communications and policy officer
08 9486 7515 / 0438 123 562
Damir Kuzmicich, vegetablesWA president
0408 910 761