Thursday, 31 March 2022
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Melissa Price MP - East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement, advancing North-West Australia

East Kimberley businesses will have access to additional workers across more than 100 occupations following the signing of the East Kimberley Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA).

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said attracting workers to relocate to regional areas is a priority for the Australian Government.

“The provisions afforded under the agreement, including permanent residency pathways, provide a significant incentive for overseas skilled workers to consider making the East Kimberley region their home,” Minister Hawke said.

“While the first priority is always to fill labour shortages from the domestic workforce, the agreement will seek to lessen the chronic workforce shortage in current and expanding industries in the East Kimberley region,” he said.

While the mining industry continues to generate the largest economic output in East Kimberley, it is the health care and social assistance industry which is the largest employment sector in the region.

The Ord Project is a significant investment in and expansion of the Ord River Irrigated Area, supporting growth in both the agricultural and tourism sectors, and has created significant demand for workers in the region.

Federal Member for Durack the Hon Melissa Price MP said the DAMA provides a strong framework to support rural and regional businesses to fill critical skill shortages.

“The East Kimberley DAMA includes a large number of occupations which are not available under the standard visa programs,” Minister Price said.

“I very much appreciate that the East Kimberley has done it tough during COVID-19 and I have worked hard to secure the DAMA to support local business,” she said. 

“There has been a push for economic diversification in the East Kimberley region with industries such as forestry, aquaculture, administration and support services, tourism and aviation gaining momentum,” she said.

“This expansion of industries is reflected in the wide range of occupations covered by the East Kimberley DAMA,” Minister Price said.

The signing of the East Kimberley DAMA is one of several now established between regional Western Australian area representatives and the Australian Government.

East Kimberley Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EKCCI) is the Designated Area Representative.  EKCCI will administer the process of accessing the East Kimberley DAMA which will be open to businesses operating in the Local Government Area of the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley. Local business can apply individually to access the DAMA from 1 April 2022.

EKCCI President Amanda McLean said the DAMA would be an important mechanism to address ongoing skills shortages in the East Kimberley region.

“Our business community has suffered through years of severe labour shortages which has had an ongoing impact on many business’ ability to operate.  We are very pleased to see a five year DAMA come into effect and we look forward to working with the Federal Government and welcoming many skilled migrants to our beautiful region,” Ms McLean said.

Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley President David Menzel said the DAMA in the East Kimberley will provide businesses with another pathway to attract and retain skilled workers, and it will also provide security to migrants that have already chosen to call the East Kimberley their home.

“These workers will benefit from the various concessions and flexibility a DAMA offers and give them the confidence to put down roots and settle in our region in a long-term capacity” Mr Menzel said.

For more information visit https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/working-in-australia/regional-migration/dama