WESTERN Australia's South West region will look to fill critical labour shortages for business and industry with the Federal Government creating a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) with the Shire of Dardanup.
The South West will be the eighth region in Australia to enter a five-year agreement with the Commonwealth aimed at ensuring skilled migrants contribute through employment in key roles where Australian workers are not available.
Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino said she had been working on the DAMA with local industry, councils, and the Federal Government for approximately three years.
"I want to thank and acknowledge all the local businesses that have been making the case to me year on year, seeking my help because they just can't fill critical labour shortages.
"Bringing this migration agreement to fruition has become critical to the South West region given the impact of COVID-19 on regional worker shortages across all industries.
"The new DAMA will assist a range of key industries in the South West fill critical employment gaps.
"Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in helping to address regional skills gaps.
"This agreement provides a limited capacity to access more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program, allowing concessions or variations specific to the South West labour market.
The DAMA allows employers to bring in skilled workers under the labour agreement stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa that may provide a pathway to permanent residency, benefiting the South West region long-term in both business and community.
The Shire of Dardanup will administer the process for accessing the South West DAMA which will be open to businesses operating in any of the 12 local governments areas covered by the agreement.
Those include the City of Busselton, City of Bunbury, Shire of Capel, Shire of Collie, Shire of Augusta/Margaret River, Shire of Boyup Brook, Shire of Bridgetown/ Greenbushes, Shire of Dardanup, Shire of Donnybrook/Balingup, Shire of Harvey, Shire of Manjimup and the Shire of Nannup.
Applications for local business to access the DAMA are open now.
Dardanup Shire president Mick Bennett said the DAMA would offer a powerful solution to ongoing skill shortages and job vacancies in the South West region.
"The Shire of Dardanup welcomes the Federal Government's support in establishing a DAMA in our region which will absolutely encourage skilled migrants to come and work and reside in regional Western Australia," Mr Bennett said.
"This is great news for our local economy and will no doubt provide a great deal of flow on benefits to the community.
"We are very pleased to see this five year labour agreement between the Shire of Dardanup, our 11 near local government neighbours and the Federal Government come to fruition which has been achieved with strong support from the Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the assistance of a passionate group of local businesses."
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