Pilbara DAMA application lodged to support local businesses

Published on Tuesday, 9 November 2021 at 2:55:56 PM

The City of Karratha and Town of Port Hedland have lodged an application to the Federal Government in partnership with Regional Development Australia Pilbara for a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA).

The Pilbara DAMA forms part of the City’s response to ongoing challenges facing local business to recruit and retain staff.

Feedback received by the City in its annual Business Climate Scorecard showed that recruiting and retaining the right workers was the number one issue affecting local businesses. 

If granted, the DAMA will enable employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to occupy roles which have been unable to be filled by Australian workers.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said many local businesses faced significant operational challenges as they struggled to attract and retain workers.

“The City is currently experiencing very low levels of unemployment with local unemployment figures sitting well below the national average,” Cr Long said.

“As market confidence returns post-COVID, this will place additional pressure on an already strained labour market and exacerbate businesses’ current difficulties attracting workers.”

“The DAMA forms part of a holistic approach to support local businesses to attract and retain skilled workers, removing red tape and supporting recruitment efforts in the future.”

“The agreement will not affect the recruitment process for Australians because businesses must demonstrate that genuine and prolonged efforts have been made to recruit Australians first.”

The DAMA facilitates a unique partnership between local and federal government organisations.

“The Town is pleased to have partnered with the City of Karratha and Regional Development Australia, with the support of the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to lodge an application with the Federal Government for a Pilbara DAMA”, said Town of Port Hedland Mayor Peter Carter.

“The Pilbara is experiencing staff shortages across broad sectors of the economy, impacting the provision of services and liveability.

“A Pilbara DAMA would enable employers within the Pilbara to sponsor skilled overseas workers that they have been unable to fill with Australian workers.”

“The Town advocates that employment should be offered to Australians first, however we also believe that skilled migrants play a key role in supplementing the local workforce.”

RDA Pilbara CEO Tony Simpson acknowledges the hard work done by the City of Karratha and Town of Port Hedland.

“This application is an excellent example of how local governments can support local businesses with skill shortages,” Mr Simpson said.

“RDA Pilbara is looking forward to becoming the Designated Area Representative for the DAMA and hopes to work with the Shires of East Pilbara and Ashburton to get them on board to have a Pilbara DAMA.”  

The City will work closely with the Federal Government, along with RDA and the Town of Port Hedland, to progress the Pilbara DAMA. 

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For media information:
Laura Hawes
Manager Corporate Affairs
(08) 9158 9365 | lhawes@porthedland.wa.gov.au

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