And the answer to rising NT unemployment is…coolies galore!

We live in very strange times. The Northern Territory is broke, its economy is slowing fast post-Inpex, and its labour market is loosening at a good clip:

With historically weak wages falling in real terms:

The answer? Coolies unlimited! Via SBS:

From cooks to family day care workers to motor mechanics, low skilled migrants will now be able to apply for Australia’s permanent residency.

Northern Territory has opened its door to skilled migrants in 117 occupations and has offered a pathway to permanent residency to these workers who are willing to work and live in the region for at least three years.

In a bid to distribute the migrant population outside Australia’s major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, the Australian government has designed a new scheme to attract migrants to regional areas across the country.

The scheme – known as the Designation Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)s has been announced for two regions in Australia – Warrnambool region in Victoria and the Northern Territory which are experiencing labour shortages and need a population boost.

The second-such agreement for NT, this time with a pathway to permanent residency, DAMA II came into effect on January 1st 2019.

Over 53 occupations have been listed as a high priority – including accountants, software engineers, mechanical engineers and chefs.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Mr David Coleman said DAMA II is an example of the Government using Australia’s migration program to benefit specific locations.
“The Government is working to improve our immigration program to better match the needs of our states, territories and regional areas,” Mr Coleman said.

“Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians, but the immigration system can play an important role in helping to address regional skills gaps.

“The NT has seen first-hand the benefits of using a DAMA to respond to their unique workforce shortages.

“I am pleased that we can continue to partner with the NT Government to support the skills needs of local businesses where Australian workers are not available to fill those jobs.”

The NT Government and the Federal Government have shortlisted 117 occupations ranging from accountants to child care worker to chef to web designer, where employers can recruit skilled migrants if they are unable to fill positions locally.

Many occupations on the list are eligible for English language concession and a Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) concession. Check if your occupation is on the list, here.

NT DAMA II Occupation List

  • Occupations
  • Accountant (General)
  • Accounts Clerk
  • Aeroplane Pilot
  • Aged or Disabled Carer
  • Agricultural and Horticultural Mobile Plant Operator
  • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical)
  • Aquaculture Farmer
  • Arborist
  • Automotive Electrician
  • Baker
  • Bar Attendant Supervisor
  • Barista
  • Beauty Therapist
  • Beef Cattle Farmer
  • Bookkeeper
  • Bus Driver
  • Butcher or Smallgoods Maker
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications)
  • Cafe or Restaurant Manager
  • Carpenter
  • Chef
  • Chief Executive or Managing Director
  • Child Care Centre Manager
  • Child Care Worker
  • Civil Engineering Technician
  • Community Worker
  • Conference and Event Organiser
  • Cook
  • Cook (includes Ethnic Cuisine)
  • Crowd Controller
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Deck Hand
  • Dental Assistant
  • Diesel Motor Mechanic
  • Disabilities Services Officer
  • Diver
  • Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teacher
  • Earth Science Technician
  • Earthmoving Plant Operator (General)
  • Electrical Linesworker
  • Electronic Instrument Trades Worker (General)
  • Excavator Operator
  • Facilities Manager
  • Family Day Care Worker
  • Family Support Worker
  • Fitter (General)
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Fitter-Welder
  • Floor Finisher
  • Flying Instructor
  • Forklift Driver
  • Fruit or Nut Grower
  • Gaming Worker
  • Hair or Beauty Salon Manager
  • Hairdresser
  • Hardware Technician
  • Hotel or Motel Manager
  • Hotel or Motel Receptionist
  • Hotel Service Manager
  • ICT Customer Support Officer
  • ICT Support Technicians nec
  • Interpreter
  • Landscape Gardener
  • Licensed Club Manager
  • Linemarker
  • Management Accountant
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Mixed Crop and Livestock Farmer
  • Mixed Crop Farmer
  • Mixed Livestock Farmer
  • Motor Mechanic (General)
  • Motor Vehicle or Caravan Salesperson
  • Motor Vehicle Parts and Accessories Fitter (General)
  • Motor Vehicle Parts Interpreter
  • Motorcycle Mechanic
  • Nursing Support Worker
  • Office Manager
  • Out of School Hours Care Worker
  • Panelbeater
  • Personal Care Assistant
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Plumber (General)
  • Pressure Welder
  • Program or Project Administrator
  • Property Manager
  • Recreation Officer
  • Residential Care Worker
  • Retail Manager (General)
  • Retail Supervisor
  • Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Sheetmetal Trades Worker
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Ship’s Master
  • Small Engine Mechanic
  • Sound Technician
  • Supply and Distribution Manager
  • Taxation Accountant
  • Telecommunications Cable Jointer
  • Telecommunications Linesworker
  • Telecommunications Technician
  • Therapy Aide
  • Tour Guide
  • Truck Driver (General)
  • Vegetable Grower
  • Vehicle Painter
  • Veterinary Nurse
  • Waiter Supervisor
  • Waste Water or Water Plant Operator
  • Web Administrator
  • Web Designer
  • Welder (First Class)
  • Welfare Worker
  • Youth Worker

“Big incentive to move to the NT”

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the addition of the pathway to permanent residency in DAMA II gave skilled migrants a big incentive to move to the NT and stay long-term.

“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is jobs for Territorians but we know access to, and retention of, a suitably skilled workforce is a key issue for many employers and there is a need for additional workers, Mr Gunner said.

“We also know that more people moving to the Territory equals more jobs.

“The Territory Labor Government fought hard for the inclusion of the pathway to permanent residency in this new five-year agreement, which we expect to significantly increase the number of skilled migrants moving to the Territory.

“The NT has a long and proud history of migration of overseas nationals and they have been a key contributor to economic growth, population growth and social diversity. This new agreement will help that continue.”

This is an entire territory of Australia turned into a mass labour rort.


  1. Interesting jobs breakdown data from the ABS today: “In 2018, public sector employment increased by 304,500 jobs, whereas private sector employment _contracted_ by 92,700 jobs.“

    So that’s around 210,000 jobs added in 2018. I wonder what the “skilled” migrant + “student” intake was during that time?

    • The Beetrooter Advocate

      Not just Darwin.

      Note: the only change needed to the headline is “NT” => “Australia​”.

  2. Clearly we need more Linemarkers

    SELL and OUT are the only words that come to mind. Population to the moon full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.

    Knowing Labor will come to government the only thing left for anyone to do now is a laser-minded focus on Labor’s population policy. Drag this evil succubus of the rentier scum into the light and kill it in a public spectacle for all to behold and cheer. This has gone beyond the pale. Time to become the Levi Strauss of pitchforks

  3. No wonder my daughter cant get a job and its not just that she will work for $10 a hour its disheartening and the pollies are in cahoots with businesses, we are going to have a generation of kids on the dole.

    • No wonder the ALP is talking about making the dole hoops easier to jump through. But I bet the ALP wimps out and refuses to remove all the hoops from the dole.

      It is hard to believe how corrupt AUS has become. Soon, AUS will be a nation where hardly anyone gets paid more than $10/hour.

  4. Locus of ControlMEMBER

    As a local I don’t for one minute believe there are skill shortages in any of the major centres (Darwin, Katherine, Alice). In fact people are leaving Darwin (I don’t know about the other centres) in droves after closing down loss-making businesses here or for better career opportunities elsewhere.

    I will allow there are possibly issues getting essential workers (utilities, teachers, police, healthcare, etc.) out to remote communities simply because they are not perceived as desirable places to live. But those people who do go are usually amply compensated in terms of finances (remote living allowances) and conditions (extra annual leave, etc.). The irony is that these communities are populated by people who could do these roles if they were simply work-ready, trained up and engaged.

    Remote stations seem to have sufficient staff to my knowledge (albeit with some turnover), but seasonal industries (orchards, fishing, tourism, etc.) may struggle admittedly. Although, to some degree, these roles are plugged by working holiday visa types who get to see a part of Australia they may otherwise not have been to and then move on to continue their holiday when the work is over.

    My conclusion is it’s a desperate bid for Fed Gov’t money/ favour and won’t work to retain people in the NT long-term. I can see immigrants with families in Melb/ Syd/ Bris who are unable to get into Australia via other mechanisms coming here to do some work and then bugging off down south with permanent residency after they’ve done their time (3 years).

    Conclusion: the NT is desperate, that’s all. & the Feds just want more people.

    • Yep, after spending many years working around the territory, I can’t see the need for more workers. Your post pretty much sums it up. I think the interesting thing will be if immigrants can actually find enough work to survive for three years to get that PR.

    • Just got back from Darwin catching up with friends and family over the festive season and those whose kids remain in Darwin struggle to find any sort of hospitality work or any half decent job full stop. Most of their kids either have or are in the process of moving interstate for either uni (Charles Darwin University’s a joke) or better job prospects. I can’t see how 99.99% of those jobs are “in demand.” That’s an out and out lie.

      • They aren’t. The point is to replace the kids leaving the territory for better prospects with people less choosy.

  5. “NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the addition of the pathway to permanent residency in DAMA II gave skilled migrants a big incentive to move to the NT and stay long-term…
    The NT has a long and proud history of migration of overseas nationals and they have been a key contributor to… population growth …”

    In the most recent ABS print, the population of the NT declined. This should probably seen as a desperate attempt to get anyone at all to move there.
    Based on their track record over the last three years, they are going to struggle to lure very many people there with the promise of low paid work in remote locations.

    Probably should be

    • Locus of ControlMEMBER

      “Based on their track record over the last three years, they are going to struggle to lure very many people there with the promise of low paid work in remote locations.”

      I’d be curious to see who (eg. migrants from which countries in particular?) would manage to tough it out for three years on low pay in remote communities. Living conditions are very basic in many, sometimes even worse than what you’d get in the third-world overseas. One store, one health clinic, rampant drug and alcohol abuse in some instances, often violence prevalent. Extreme temperatures – as hot as Hades some days. Very isolated – the next community can be a hundred kilometres away, the nearest major centre can be literally thousands of kilometres away. If you come from a place with strong family/ community ties, densely populated, lots of shopping options, etc. as I imagine many places in say, South East or South Asia have you would really struggle, say, nursing, teaching, law enforcing out there. The people that do go out there have what was an average pay, topped up immensely by being there and use it to get ahead financially or for career reasons (eg. can’t be principal of a school in a major centre but you can be in a remote community). I don’t think even the carrot of permanent residency would be enough for most.

      PS. I say this as a veteran of a remote community in the Kimberley (2 years) and watched many people struggle with the isolation and social problems, often giving in after 3-4 months.

      I’m thinking some industry or another has begged for some cheap labour. Maybe agriculture on Ord Stage 3?? Maybe fishing??

      • I think it’s as simple as this sentence from the most recent ABS Demographic stats:

        “The largest percentage decrease in NOM was recorded in the Northern Territory at 56.6%. ‘

        NOM dropping almost 60% in a year (two thirds from peak) is going to make people who only know ponzinomics panic, especially coupled with a big increase in interstate outflow (just as you described in your post above).

        I mean, if ‘We also know that more people moving to the Territory equals more jobs.’ more people moving away probably means less jobs.

      • Migrants will go to Darwin (and maybe a couple of other towns).

        Locals will be pushed out to the remote communities.

  6. Forrest GumpMEMBER

    … ICT Customer Support Officer…
    This has gotta be a joke.
    All these jobs are outsourced to either India or Philippines. There are no such jobs in NT.

    …Property Manager….
    Gotta be kidding. There is a glut of spruikers in Darwin now that are just surfing face book all day. Perhaps they need some to manage remote properties outside of Alice Springs?

    • Property Manager: would an immigrant would be conversant with Australian building industry codes/practice and licenced? surely it would take them just as much time as a local to get up to speed

      • ‘would an immigrant would be conversant with Australian building industry codes/practice’

        How long would it take someone from O/S to learn the phrase ‘She’ll be right ,mate.’?

  7. We also know that more people moving to the Territory equals more jobs.

    Supply-side thinking at its finest.

  8. Locus of ControlMEMBER

    Who’s benefiting in Warnambool? As in, which industry is employing these workers? Anybody know?

  9. Do a lot of business in the NT – this is hilarious. No work at all except on a couple of the big stations but then again that is sparse. This is just a desperate attempt to reinflate property market there. Rorts a plenty is the only outcome.

    Can’t exactly see migrants going to the 5 star resorts of Tennant Creek, Wadeye or Melville Island.

  10. So Cook (Ethnic Cuisine) is on the list. So come from India or Nepal and get a business visa to set up Ethnic Cuisine Shop, with remittance to pay off visa / business set up fees going out of Australia. Then hire other Indians or Nepalese (often family or strangers for a fee) under a skilled visa. Again remittances going out of Australia.

    And the benefit to Australia is what? More curry houses? Whoop-dee-doo!

  11. Our first priority is always to fill jobs with Australians

    Nope. If that was the case, there would be a massive tax on every work visa.