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Migration Agreement tackles ongoing labour shortage

Western Plains App

Lily Plass

05 June 2024, 7:40 AM

Migration Agreement tackles ongoing labour shortageFarm Hand picking apples by Zen Chung


Regional Development Australia (RDA) has extended their Orana Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) to include several areas in Central West NSW, including Lachlan, Parkes, Forbes, Weddin, Cowra, Cabonne, Blayney, Orange, Bathurst, Oberon and Lithgow.


The new variation also included Murray, Riverina, and Southern Inland Region. 


The Dubb0-based Orana DAMA is currently the only DAMA in the NSW. There are 1,500 positions available within this agreement. 


The labour force in Far West/Orana has even seen a decline between 1999 and 2022 compared to a national average growth of slightly above 50%, according to 2022 data from the Grattan Institute. 


"The Orana DAMA allows businesses to employ skilled migrants for positions they can’t currently fill with local workers. If there are no workers there is no industry,"   a spokesperson for RDA Orana said. 


"Inland regions and RDAs of these regions asked to be included to be able to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they are currently unable to fill."


"There is a skilled labour shortage across the country."


"There are not enough Australian workers to fill the current vacancies."


"There are thousands of vacancies across regional NSW with businesses unable to fill positions." 


Even when employers find skilled workers from overseas, visa pathways, skills, and qualifications, the cost of visa processing, and the amount the process costs in wages are obstacles that stand in the way of employers hiring the most suited worker for the task. 



Overall, Orana added 41 LGAs to the agreement, making the total 53 LGAs which are now part of the Orana DAMA agreement. 


Minister of Immigration, Citizen and Multicultural Affairs Hon Andrew Gils approved the DAMA variation on April 3, 2024. The variation means that 60 percent of regional Australia is now covered under the Orana DAMA agreement. 


The variation also included an increase in occupations on the skilled worker list to 129. 


“It is a priority for RDA Orana and the Australian Government to always promote jobs for Australians first, however, a DAMA allows employers who are unable to find suitably qualified Australians to supplement their workforce with overseas workers," Orana CEO Justine Campbell said. 


“This is an incredible outcome for RDA Orana and regional NSW to assist with workforce shortages across the state."