Proposal to introduce a DAMA

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS on the recent proposal to introduce a Designated Area Migration Agreement to the tropical North....

Skilled labour shortages have emerged as a key constraint on business activities in recent quarters, particularly after recent long overdue jobs growth.

Regional areas like the tropical North have a smaller labour pool to draw from to service a large geographic area and a broad range of industries, which means that the regions rely on attracting skilled workers from outside the area. Only 6% of skilled migrants settle in regional areas and of those, 10 % move to major cities within 18 months. Attracting skilled migration to the regions is therefore an important strategy to build the critical mass of talent needed to sustain and retain talent in TNQ.

Cairns Region needs a designated area migration agreement. Enterprise North Executive Manager Kevin Byrne has called for Cairns and FNQ to negotiate it’s own Designated Area Migration Agreement similar to a scheme that has been in place in the Northern Territory since 2015 so as to guarantee a streamlined pathway to accessing a skilled and semi skilled workforce.

Under that agreement between the Federal Government Home Affairs Department and the Northern Territory Government, 60 businesses in and around Darwin can bring skilled and semi-skilled workers including tradespeople, certain categories of skilled hospitality workers, fruit and vegetable growers and personal carers from overseas if the owners can demonstrate they have been unable to find Australians to fill those positions

Kevin Byrne said that he has been advised that regional councils across Australia, particularly in West Australia, are doing deals with the Morrison government to bring potentially thousands of skilled migrants to regional areas

“Recently the Assistant Home Affairs Minister David Coleman had endorsed negotiations for regional migration agreements that effectively bypass State Governments and has been quoted as directing his Department to accelerate the process by sending immigration officers to the regions to assist the application process”

“It is good to see the Cairns Chamber of Commerce taking a lead role in highlighting to Government the current visa processing difficulties that were imposing unacceptably high cost burdens on businesses particularly in the hospitality sector here in the Far North, but I fear that the issues of delayed visa processing and these escalating cost are such that the matter will only be fixed by successfully negotiating our own stand alone regional agreement. This is not just a hospitality issue but across other tourism sectors as well including dive and adventure tourism”

“I am sure that Warren Entsch MP, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Federal Parliamentary Committee on Northern Australia Development and Mayor Bob Manning would support a joint submission that would allow a scheme similar to the one enjoyed by Northern Territory industry and businesses to be instituted here.

Kevin Byrne said the region is poised to double the population in the next 25/30 years and industries and businesses across Northern Australia need the flexibility and assurance to access skilled people efficiently and competitively.“That is not the case currently” he said.

Working in collaboration with other like groups, Enterprise North is an economic infrastructure and policy advocacy group driving a fresh agenda to grow the city and region within the Northern Australia growth framework. Our agenda is double the city and region population numbers in the next 30 years.

Media contact: Kevin Byrne 0447 280 923

Renegade Moss