Quarantine plan breakthrough to bring vineyard workers
Crucial vineyard work will go ahead next month after a breakthrough in the tussle over quarantine arrangements for a flight carrying 84 Tongan workers.
Local firms Vinepower and Labour Solutions invested in the returning workers to carry out pruning once vintage ends for the Margaret River region. After the Times last week reported a lack of capacity in Perth’s hotel quarantine arrangements could nix the needed flight, Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan confirmed a solution on Monday.
“Under our plan, workers will quarantine in a city hotel that is no longer in use for mainstream international arrivals,” she said.
“That hotel will be largely dedicated to seasonal worker arrivals to ensure we have ongoing capacity to quarantine Pacific Island arrivals.”
The plan was still to be finalised this week with sign-off from WA’s Health Department.
Ms MacTiernan said further flights to support WA agriculture were planned.
Margaret River Wine Association chief executive Amanda Whiteland expressed relief at the news.
“They will commence essential pruning work in Margaret River vineyards once they have completed their two weeks quarantine in Perth,” she said.
Wine industry figures said more support from foreign workers would be needed. Other planned flights would address worker shortages outside of the Capes.
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