A collaborative effort involving local authorities and the Federal Government aims to boost the number of overseas workers in the East Pilbara in sought-after occupations. An agreement was struck between the Shire of East Pilbara, the Federal Government, RDA Pilbara, and the Newman Chamber of Commerce and Industry to expand the Pilbara Designated Area Migration Agreement to the East Pilbara. The move aims to address the persistent worker shortages in the area by providing access to more overseas workers than the standard skilled migration program. A DAMA is a formal agreement between the Australian Government and a regional authority, allowing for flexibility to respond to unique economic and labour market conditions. Under this agreement, the Shire of East Pilbara will gain access to additional overseas workers, a development welcomed by shire president Anthony Middleton. “Previously, the shire was not included in the authorised area for the Pilbara DAMA,” Mr Middleton said. “Business owners have consistently voiced their concerns about the difficulties in filling positions within the shire of East Pilbara.” Mr Middleton emphasised the collaborative efforts involved in advocating for the DAMA scheme’s applicability in the region. “Our CEO and team have worked closely with the local chamber of commerce and industry and government stakeholders on this issue,” he added. Immigration Minister Andrew Giles approved the request for variation to the Pilbara DAMA, expanding its coverage to include the Shire of East Pilbara and an additional 69 occupations. “DAMAs ensure that employers prioritise the recruitment of Australian citizens and permanent residents,” he said. “Employers must demonstrate genuine attempts to recruit Australians before accessing a DAMA labour agreement.” With 135 eligible occupations for sponsorship under the Pilbara DAMA, the recent expansion includes occupations in fields including community services, agriculture, child care, health, trades, administration, machinery operation, and labour. “This is a massive step forward in addressing the worker shortage,” Mr Middleton said. “To anybody seeking work throughout Australia, I encourage you to consider opportunities within the East Pilbara, where jobs, opportunities, and fantastic incentives await.” The official launch of the DAMA program in the Shire of East Pilbara is scheduled for March 2024, marking a significant milestone in efforts to bolster the local workforce and support economic growth in the region.