Employers are hoping a new government scheme designed to attract new workers to regional areas will help fill vacant jobs.

HELP WANTED: Teys Naracoorte are struggling to find workers to fill positions
HELP WANTED: Teys Naracoorte are struggling to find workers to fill positions

Employers in Naracoorte are hoping a new government scheme designed to attract new workers to regional areas will help fill vacant jobs.

People moving to regional areas for employment can receive up to $9000 to help with relocation costs, under the federal government's Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program.

The program will assist eligible participants to relocate to take up an offer of employment.

Teys' manager of corporate and industry affairs John Langbridge said the Naracoorte facility had struggled to find staff to fill positions.

"We are starting to have issues finding staff to fill positions. By next Monday, we are expecting to have 20 vacancies at Naracoorte, currently we have 14," he said.

He said relocation costs can deter people from applying, but there were more issues at work.

"To some degree relocation costs are a deterrent to people applying for work in regional areas.

"I believe part of the problem may be that Australian society is becoming more urbanised and many people have no real appreciation of what living in a good country town is like."

"The new relocation assistance program will help. Other things that may be of benefit are assisting students who'd like to do a gap year before University by providing them with accommodation, much like a program the WA Government is doing.

"It would be good to also provide some sort of system where people can sample living and working in the area before they commit themselves and family to relocating permanently.

"I should note that the graduate program at Teys in Naracoorte has also been successful. This program currently assists three graduate employees who are building their lives in the region."

From November 1, relocation assistance will be available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up short-term agricultural work, including Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.

Workers can receive up to $3,000 if they relocate to a capital city, $6,000 to relocate to a regional area and an extra $3,000 if they relocate with a dependent.

If they relocate to take up short-term agricultural work, they may be eligible to receive up to $6,000 if they are an Australian worker or $2,000 if they are a visa holder with the right to work in Australia.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin MP said this would go some way to helping employers in Barker fill critical workforce shortages.

"Over the past few months, I've spoken to employers across my electorate of Barker who are crying out for staff to fill positions and they say they are just not getting the job applications," Mr Pasin said.

"Unfortunately, the reality is that displaced Aussie workers have been reluctant to leave the cities and suburbs to relocate to rural and regional Australia. This relocation payment seeks to help address this."

The assistance is available to workers who relocate from their current residential location for ongoing work, including for an apprenticeship, or to move to a harvest or regional area to take up short-term agricultural work that is at least six weeks.

"Much of the work in regional areas of Barker is in agriculture and food processing and it's work that our nation needs doing," Mr Pasin said.

"Without people to step up and do this work, we will have employers shutting their doors and letting fruit rot on the tree sending shock waves throughout the entire supply chain and ending up with much higher prices at the checkout."

For more information on the program go to www.employment.gov.au/relocation-assistance-take-job

This story Government entices relocation to regions first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.