Mallala hospital becomes seasonal worker home

Many Mallala residents were left wondering as to what brought a sudden influx of immigrants to the town at the start of October.

Confused residents took to facebook to ask questions and express bewilderment.

Unfortunately due to a lack of information surrounding the issue, some misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions had begun to circulate.

The former Mallala hospital site has been turned into hostel-style accommodation, after Council approval had been obtained, by developer Liam Stewart.

The site, on Aerodrome Road, is now a temporary home for the visitors who hail all the way from Vanuatu and are working at the D’Vine Ripe tomato factory on Germantown Road in
Two Wells.

Labour hire company, Madec, is being used by D’Vine Ripe to source the workers, whereby they complete a six month stint, and return home, giving another group of workers the same opportunity.

Immediate reactions to workers brought into the country are subject to the valid question of, why not employ Australians?

However, reliable labour from the domestic market is in short supply for such arduous employment, and unfortunately must be sourced from overseas.

The clearance procedure to work in Australia is extremely stringent, so any worker arriving in Australia on a working visa can be appreciated to fulfil a much needed labour shortage and ensure the effective continuation of established businesses in the area.

The horticultural workers bring immediate economic benefits to the community by filling that labour shortfall and using local
businesses.

They also offer a glimpse into another culture that residents would not usually be exposed to.

Strong attendance has been seen at the local churches, as well as their being involved in various sporting activities, such as evening lawn bowls.

Initial negative reactions are simmering out as residents are coming to understand that nothing is to be feared from the new residents.

Any questions may be directed towards a new group that has been formed by members of the community called the ‘Vanuatu Friendship Group’.

Please email vanuatufriendshipgroup@gmail.com.

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