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Worker accommodation underway in Mallee


Workers in the Mallee region will have access to more accommodation options, thanks to support from the Victorian Government.

Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas was today joined by representatives from the Swan Hill Rural City Council in Robinvale to turn the sod on the start of construction at the site of the Swan Hill Worker Housing project, part of a $1.9 million investment to attract more workers to the region.

The Swan Hill Worker Housing project is set to deliver four houses thanks to a $500,000 investment from the Building Works program, as part of a plan to attract more professional workers to the region in industries including healthcare and education. The project is being built in Ronald Street, Robinvale, and is expected to be completed by end of 2021. The Swan Hill Rural City Council has plans to further develop on this site in years to come.

The Victorian Government is also supporting the region’s agriculture sector to overcome barriers that prevent local jobseekers from taking up seasonal work such as a lack of accommodation, with key projects in Mildura under way.

Yesterday, the Minister met with the Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council for an update on the progress of an $800,000 investment to redevelop Mildura’s Ramsay House to accommodate migrant and other seasonal workers. The project is also being funded through Building Works and comes on top of a $450,000 grant the Council has received through the $6 million Seasonal Workforce Accommodation Program (SWAP).

The Building Works investment will help address the shortfall in housing for the region’s seasonal working population, with the refurbishment of 25 purpose-built worker accommodation rooms, due for completion in May.

The SWAP grant will enable the Council to provide pastoral care for up to 600 migrant workers. Both projects are examples of ideas driven by locals who have the knowledge to meet the needs of local farmers and employers.

Additional SWAP grants have also been awarded this week, including $500,000 for the Swan Hill Rural City Council to reform illegal and inappropriate accommodation and facilitate the development of new COVIDSafe accommodation. Fruit Grower Victoria received a SWAP grant of $365,000 to provide transport for up to 1,000 seasonal workers in the Goulburn Valley from their accommodation to their place of work.

The $2.7 billion Building Works package is designed to provide immediate and lasting benefit to communities across the state, with more than half the projects in rural and regional Victoria – from our smallest town to our most famous natural wonders.

SWAP provides financial help for regional organisations and communities to deliver COVIDSafe accommodation, transport and support services for seasonal horticultural workers and is one part of the Government’s support for industry and farm employers as they adapt to meet the challenges bought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

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