The state of Victoria is vying to welcome back international students and workers next month as part of a state government plan to support the COVID-19 economic recovery.
The proposal calls for the state to accept 120 arrivals per week beginning May 24, including international students and workers for major events or stage/screen productions.
The arrivals would be housed in a separate hotel quarantine facility from returning Australians, with arrangements similar to those put in place for the Australian Open.
Acting Premier James Merlino stated in a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the program would be funded through a "industry/user-pays model" supported by relevant industries such as tertiary institutions, stage and screen productions, and major event organizers.
The quarantine program would cost "over and above" the $3000 fee paid by returning Australians for one adult. A final fee would be determined after consulting with relevant industries.
The international students would have no effect on Victoria's weekly international passenger cap of 1000 arrivals.
Mr Merlino today said he was "hopeful for a positive response" from the Federal Government.
"International students are a vitally important sector - we have been talking to unis and industry and they're supportive of this program," he said.
"The ball is now in the Federal Government's court."
The international students and workers would arrive "where possible" on commercial passenger flights, subject to "operational guidelines to be developed in consultation with COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria".
The program would be subject to the same health and safety regulations as the system for returning Australian arrivals.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would be worn by staff in accordance with the same standards as in health and complex care hotels. The Safe Workplace App would be used to track down contacts.
To be employed, quarantine workers must have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The scheme's facilities would be subject to a ventilation assessment and, if necessary, remediation work.
Mr Merlino has asked the Commonwealth Government to continue expediting and issuing visas and exemptions from travel restrictions in order to support the scheme.