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Government signs Townsville DAMA to help fill thousands of unfilled vacancies in North Queensland

Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke has announced the signing of the landmark Townsville Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) in a joint media release with the Hon Phillip Thompson OAM MP. This major decision follows the recent implementation of new DAMAs for the Pilbara and East Kimberley, as well as the approved variations for Far North Queensland and Northern Territory DAMAs.

Townsville finally gets a DAMA too – making it easier to secure the workforce needed for the region’s economic growth. Labour agreements like this are generally valid for five years and can be updated at any time.

The agreement has been finalised between the Federal Executive Government and Townsville Enterprise, which will be a tremendous help to North Queensland’s business community in facing their biggest challenge – that is workforce availability.

“Right now there are 3,000 unfilled vacancies in North Queensland, so if we can help fill some of those with the DAMA, then that is a win for the business community,” Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said.

Attracting workers to relocate to regional areas through the migration system is a priority for Morrison’s Government.

To help manage regional skill shortages, DAMAs allow employers in that region to access positions that may not typically be available for sponsorship. They also make eligibility concessions available on work experience, English language, and age requirements – allowing a wider range of possibilities for workers to get Permanent Residency if working in that region for a DAMA employer.

It is important to note that employers are still required to demonstrate a genuine attempt to recruit Australian citizens and permanent residents before accessing a DAMA labour agreement.

The new Townsville DAMA will help local businesses in the region recruit more skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers across 195 occupations from sectors like manufacturing, health care and social assistance, transport, and professional, scientific and technical services.

“Since unemployment has been so low recently, many businesses have raised with me the challenges of finding staff, whether it’s in hospitality, manufacturing or in other trades. The DAMA will help to fill those gaps,” Federal Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said.

Townsville Enterprise, a peak economic development and destination marketing organisation, will administer the process of accessing the new DAMA.

Local businesses in North Queensland operating in any of the following 9 local government areas have access to the Townsville DAMA:

  • City of Townsville
  • Hinchinbrook Shire
  • Charters Towers Regional Council
  • Burdekin Shire
  • City of Mount Isa
  • Shire of Cloncurry
  • Shire of McKinlay
  • Shire of Richmond
  • Shire of Flinders

“The structure of the DAMA agreement means that when workers come here they can look at bringing their immediate families, and they will have avenues to permanent residency,” Burdekin Regional Shire Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin added.

Meanwhile, Far North Queensland DAMA – Townsville’s closest DAMA neighbour, has also been varied on 30 March 2022 to make it work with the updated list of approved occupations with a focus on hospitality occupations.

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

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