Stakeholder consultation for proposed Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) for RDA Orana


RDA Orana has been working on the issue of the workforce for our region and through employer responses has identified that there are critical labour shortages holding back business growth.

We’ve also identified a project pipeline of $7.9 B that is a mix of mining, infrastructure, renewable energy, manufacturing and health projects between now and the next 5 years.

With 5 of 12 LGA’s recording full employment, an ageing regional population and declining participation rates, access to and availability of labour is a critical factor in all employer feedback. This is across the board and no industry is unaffected. (Full details of our research can be found in our Bracing for Change report, which is available to view on our website).

To address the critical shortages being experienced by business, RDA Orana has been in discussion with the Commonwealth Government and is preparing to lodge a proposal for a DAMA for the Orana region.

DAMAs are custom-designed arrangements which support a tailored, regional response to labour needs. They are an important tool in assisting regions to manage workforce strategies that support local growth. The over-arching nature of these agreements allows employers targeted and streamlined access to a broader range of overseas workers than allowed under standard State and National skilled migration programmes. The DAMA will negotiate terms and conditions cutting down on individual employer visa worker hiring costs.

The specific advantages of having a DAMA in place for our region include:

  • simplification of visa application system for employers
  • the ability to bring semi-skilled labour into the region to meet and address real labour shortages
  • the ability to bring in semi-skilled labour, which will cut the retraining costs associated with using holiday visa workers to fill unfilled job vacancies currently unrecognised in the Australian Skill Shortage lists
  • the ability to allow our ageing population to continue to live in the region where they have grown up and had their working life will be underpinned by access to a professional workforce and
  • provide an opportunity for overseas workers to embed in our region, supporting the possibility of permanent residency and addressing population decline, particularly in our rural communities

The DAMA will not:

  • provide an advantage to overseas workers over Australian workers or
  • be used to erode wages and conditions of any worker in the region or
  • provide any avoidance of the Fairwork Australia legal obligations of employers

RDA Orana is committed to the principles of

  • Jobs for Australian’s first and
  • Wages and condition equality

RDA Orana is seeking the advice and input of stakeholders into the proposal to have the RDA Orana geographic area being approved as a DAMA. This approval if successful will be granted by the Commonwealth Government and RDA Orana intends to act as the Designated Area Representative (DAR) on behalf of the region.

A list of occupations that we will be seeking to have included in the DAMA is available as a starting point for discussion purposes. During the consultation, we will be talking with employers to firm up occupations, numbers for each occupation; as well as concessions (i.e. English language test, variations to work experience and age).

The Commonwealth requires all organisations seeking access to a DAMA to consult with: relevant unions which best represent employees in occupations and locations proposed under the DAMA; the industry bodies which best represent employers in the industry; and any other agency, union, individual employers or community group that may be impacted by the proposed DAMA.

We are formally seeking input and submissions to allow the preparation and lodging of the proposal to request a Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) which we intend to lodge by the 14 November 2018.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the department) will take your views into account when considering our request.

The consultation period is for 28 days and we invite you to respond to RDA Orana before 5 pm 31 October 2018.

To assist stakeholders with understanding the proposal and responding we are available to meet with you to provide further detail and respond to your questions. Meeting requests should be lodged with Miranda Riley, on 02 6885 1488 or miranda.riley@rdaorana.org.au.

Alternatively, we are also running the following public consultation sessions:

All meetings are 6.00 pm until 8.00 pm.

RSVP's to these events can be registered by clicking on the event above.

All stakeholder input is valued and will be taken into consideration.

The department expects that all information provided to RDA Orana during the consultation is treated in confidence. Copies of all correspondence between us will be provided to the department. Information provided in this process will not be disclosed to any other party.


Submissions can be lodged with Megan Dixon, the Director of Regional Development at

RDA Orana

PO Box 1357

Dubbo NSW 2830

or via email at dama@rdaorana.org.au

Attached is a copy of the DAMA guidelines.

We’ve also attached a list that details the occupations of workers sought for the DAMA.