New tool to help seek migrant workers

Guideline: Regional Australia Institute co-chief executive Liz Ritchie and Minister for Regional Development Tim Whetstone at the recent launch of a new migrant toolkit.
Guideline: Regional Australia Institute co-chief executive Liz Ritchie and Minister for Regional Development Tim Whetstone at the recent launch of a new migrant toolkit.

Attracting migrant workers to rural communities can be hard, especially as towns and regions have different needs.

As populations decrease in regional South Australia, migrant workers and their families can be the difference in creating a vibrant community that will be of benefit to everyone.

Sourcing the right people with a specific skills set could be the difference between a healthy town and one that is slowly dying.

That is why the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has developed a new toolkit, Steps to Settlement Success, which has a range of ideas to attract migrant workers to the regions.

RAI co-chief executive Dr Kim Houghton said regions were different so it was important to match the right people to the right communities.

"In travelling the country, we know there are many regional economies that are being held back because they can't find the people they need to fill the jobs they have," Dr Houghton said.

Currently there are more than 44,600 vacancies in regional Australia.

"In some areas, regional migration is a solution, and in others it may be about implementing regional learning systems to grow workers from within.

"But this takes time, planning and collaboration."

The toolkit was co-developed by Emmanuel Musoni, a Rwandan refugee who was raised in a refugee camp.

"I decided not to be defined by the refugee life I lived, and since being in Australia, have developed a passion for repopulating regional towns," he said.

Mr Musoni spent time interviewing communities and their residents in a number of places around the nation which were champions in attracting migrant families to their regions.

Minister for Regional Development Tim Whetstone said South Australia needed skilled labour in industries such as agriculture, horticulture, tourism, healthcare, mining and social services.

"Migration is essential to South Australia reaching its population growth ambitions - our state has the greatest share of its population growth coming from net overseas migration compared to other states and territories.

"Combined, these industries are the most valuable and fastest growing, with the strongest labour demands of all industries operating in our regions," Mr Whetstone said.

"Our regions are willing and ready to embrace migrants as part of their population growth ambition.

"South Australia's Regional Workforce Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) offers regions a new pathway to address current labour market shortages."

Steps to Settlement Success is available on the RAI website at www.regionalaustralia.org.au.

This story Skill to seek migrants first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.