Thursday, 31 March 2022
Media release

Joint media release with the Hon. Warren Entsch MP - Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement helps address skill shortages

​The Australian Government is making key changes to ensure the Far North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) remains fit for purpose as the regional labour market has evolved throughout the pandemic.

Changes to the Far North Queensland DAMA include updating the range of occupations across which businesses can source workers.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said these changes come at a critical point, as the region experiences an increase in vaccinated overseas visitors.

“The positive economic impact on a number of sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, has been strongly felt across Far North Queensland,” Minister Hawke said.

“As international travellers return to Australia in larger numbers, Far North Queensland will be well prepared and ready to share its world class hospitality and services,” he said.

Federal Member for Leichhardt the Hon Warren Entsch MP said the FNQ DAMA will continue to support a range of industries to help to drive the region’s post-COVID recovery.

“This initiative has already helped fill the employment void across many sectors,” Mr Entsch said.

“The FNQ DAMA recognises local businesses need people to help grow our local economy,” he said.

“One of the best aspects about the FNQ DAMA is it has proven to be extremely nimble, adaptable and effective in addressing workforce shortages across our region,” Mr Entsch said.

These DAMA variations enable businesses to cast their net wider to employ suitable overseas workers, while at the same time ensuring those workers are job-ready for the work they are seeking to perform when they arrive in the region.

On 4 April 2019, the Australian Government entered into a DAMA with the Cairns Chamber of Commerce (the Designated Area Representative). The Chamber of Commerce administers the process for accessing the Far North Queensland DAMA which is open to businesses operating in any of the nine local government areas covered by the agreement – Cairns Regional, Douglas Shire, Mareeba Shire, Tablelands Regional, Cassowary Coast Regional, Cook Shire, Torres Shire and Northern Peninsula Area Regional Councils areas, as well as the Weipa Town Authority.

Patricia O’Neill, CEO of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce said the variations to the Far North Queensland DAMA occupations are guided by industry feedback.

“A labour market analysis undertaken in January 2022 showed where current skill shortages are affecting our regional businesses,” she said.

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