The Pilbara is one of the most important economic regions in Australia, thanks to its resources and energy sectors.
Pilbara towns and communities experience rapid growth during mining ‘booms’ as migrants from across Australia and overseas move the area to take up employment opportunities. In addition, the region sustains a large population of fly-in-fly-out workers who generate demand for local services. Despite the population growth, government, non-government and private organisations have been unable to attract enough workers to deliver services during the economic peaks. Local employers are unable to compete with the attractive salaries offered by resources companies, and many small operators struggle to survive.
As one of a range of strategies to address workforce shortages during peak periods, the Pilbara Regional Council is proposing a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA). This is an agreement between the Federal Government and a regional authority. It establishes the process for the sponsorship of workers from outside Australia into that regional area. The PRC’s draft DAMA covers labour categories including community and personal service workers, clerical and administrative workers, sales workers and laborers. Once endorsed by the Federal Government, the Pilbara Designated Area Migration Agreement will be the first to be established in Australia.