Easing border helps Victorian women secure employment in Kimberley region

By Brooke Littlewood
Updated March 1 2022 - 12:46pm, first published February 28 2022 - 11:00pm
Annabelle Naylor was among those from the Eastern States excited to start working in WA's agricultural sector.

DREAMS of working on outback cattle stations have been reignited, after it was announced Western Australia's hard border would be lifted next week.

Annabelle Naylor, of Bareena in Victoria, made the move to the Kimberley region this month, after securing employment in the agricultural sector.

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Through the assistance of Bush Recruitment director Dugald Storie, Ms Naylor was offered a station hand position with Anna Plains in September.

And while her journey has not been as smooth sailing as initially anticipated, her spirits have not been dampened.

The 18-year-old entered WA before the State government's border announcement and was required to complete seven days quarantine in Perth before moving to the Kimberley.

Growing up on her family's mixed-farming property Pollocksford Pastoral, Ms Naylor said she wanted to work at Anna Plains to broaden her understanding of agricultural systems and large-scale operations.

"I was very excited to commit to something I was so interested in," Ms Naylor said.

"I had been talking about it for a long time, having gone through my year 12 exams with a seemingly solid plan of what I was going to do in 2022."

Ms Naylor had her flights booked and a set date to arrive on February 10, in accordance with the State government's original plan to open up on February 5.

"When Premier Mark McGowan announced restrictions would remain in place from that date, it was extremely disconcerting.

"My idea of the direction I was heading in after school was completely flipped on its head and I began questioning whether going to university may be a safer option."

Ms Naylor even contacted Australian National University about the Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability (Advanced) (Honours) course she had deferred to see if it was still possible to attend.

After many conversations, internal debates and feelings of uncertainty, she decided to 100 per cent commit to moving to WA and dealing with the hurdles as they appeared.

"I would have been nuts to pass up an opportunity like this," she said.

"It was disappointing to hear the State government had backed down on their original promise."

Ms Naylor added it was important to support young people wanting to start careers and develop a deeper and more realistic understanding of agricultural practices.

"We are the next generation of Australians to work in the industry," she said.

"I hope I can take the learnings from my time at Anna Plains station with me into the future, as I look to study and then continue in the agricultural sector."

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