The Townsville North Queensland Designated Area Migration Agreement (TNQ DAMA) went live last week, opening the door to a new source of skilled workers to help ease the workforce crunch being felt by businesses across North Queensland.
The DAMA was secured by Townsville Enterprise prior to the federal election and provides a simpler and more efficient channel for businesses that are struggling to recruit domestically to look overseas for qualified workers.
Townsville Enterprise CEO Claudia Brumme-Smith said that resolving labour force shortages in the region was a key strategic challenge that was necessary to ensure North Queensland can exploit the growth and economic development opportunities forecast for next decade.
“North Queensland is continuing to show strong economic growth, and we need to find the people to do the jobs that will allow us to continue on this trajectory,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.
“The labour market has shifted quite drastically during COVID, and like most regions across the country we’re in a position where we have more jobs that need doing, than people to do them.
“The DAMA gives us up to 1,000 workers from overseas each year for the next five years into key industries that are particularly hard hit, and it’s structured to encourage these new workers to bring their families to the region, settle, and become valuable long-term members of our communities.
“So far, the response to the DAMA has been remarkable. We’re seeing a lot of activity on the DAMA portal on the Townsville Enterprise website as businesses access the occupation list and download the application forms.
“The early applications and enquiries have come from a really broad cross section of industries including surveying, allied health and hospitality, and this reflects the diversity and strength of our economy.”
The first business to register for the new scheme was allied health provider Psylutions Group, looking to source occupational therapists to expand their mental health and wellbeing services in Townsville.
Psylutions Group Director and Principal Psychologist Kylie Lavers said that having access to the DAMA was going to make a significant difference to the business.
“Our business has been undergoing sustained growth and the demand for services continues to increase, so we have been looking for a health professionals across a range of clinical areas,” Ms Lavers said.
“The DAMA was an incredible relief for our business as the research into sponsoring international health professionals independently told us that this is ordinarily a long process requiring significant finances and input of time.
“With all the other demands of the business this would have been difficult to achieve.”
The DAMA registration process begins at https://www.townsvilleenterprise.com.au/skills-and-migration/