A GROUP of Melbourne-based migrants visited Stawell on Wednesday as part of a plan to fill jobs for upcoming projects in the region.
The Opportunities Pyrenees Ararat Northern Grampians project - a partnership comprising the three councils - seeks to fill workforce shortages within the region by attracting job seekers from Melbourne.
Northern Grampians Shire Council mayor Kevin Erwin said there were a number of upcoming projects in need of workers and the comparatively low level of unemployment in Stawell meant there could be labour shortages.
The unemployment rate in the Northern Grampians municipality was at 3.6 per cent at the December 2018 quarter (Australian Bureau of Statistics) compared with the Victoria-wide figure of 4.4 per cent.
The figure for regional Victoria is 4.9 per cent.
"Our current unemployment isn't sufficient to fill all the new jobs that are coming up within our shire, so we're looking to invite families to fill these positions and join us in Stawell," Cr Erwin said.
"Hopefully they will become new community members of ours in the future."
The visit included a tour of Stawell as well as an event at the Neighbourhood House, where Cr Erwin spoke alongside other businesses in the area who have already begun seeking future employees for upcoming projects.
One of the major upcoming projects is the Nectar Farms Stawell glasshouse farming project, which will be Nectar Farms' first facility.
Another one is the Stawell Gold Mine, and a representative made a presentation on Wednesday about the mine's general workforce needs, which included a current opening for electricians.
The project will also try to address housing, transport and workforce planning issues within the region.
The initiative follows other regional success stories where migrant communities have filled labour shortages.
One example is from Luv-A-Duck in Nhill, which attracted Karen migrants from South-East Asia to work in its processing plant.
Further afield is the rural town of Pyramid Hill in northern Victoria.
The town successfully staffed its piggery with migrants from the Filipino community after it struggled to attract Australian-born workers for any significant period of time.
The Filipino community also prompted a small housing boom in the tiny town.
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