Appendix A: Regional employment and training programs
involving MDA clients
The following are examples of regional employment and training programs involving clients
from the Multicultural Development Association (MDA).
Rockhampton meatworks – AWX Agribusiness
AWX Agribusiness – a recruitment agency for the agricultural sector – gained a contract from
TEYS Brothers to place workers in the Rockhampton meatworks. AWX has recruited many
refugee workers who are continuing to receive settlement support from MDA. These workers
went to Rockhampton in May 2010. The workers employed are predominantly of Sri Lankan
Tamil and Afghan Hazara ethnicity, as well as from Iranian, Kurdish and African backgrounds.
Over the past year, AWX Agribusiness has employed over 200 persons from a refugee
background. The private enterprise currently has approximately 160 persons employed in the
meat industry based in Queensland’s regional beef hub Rockhampton. A further 40 persons have
been placed into meat processing centres in Brisbane. Here, work in the meat industry ranges
from butchery tasks to cold-storeroom packers and machine operators.
AWX Agribusiness accommodates cultural and ethnic values through the provision of specialist
recruitment and management, language, safety systems, community development and
stakeholder management. AWX engaged and employed both a Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil and an
Afghani ethnic Hazara worker to work actively with other management to ensure a seamless
integration into both the workplace and community for all staff. These specialists have
coordinated the engagement of community volunteers in both Rockhampton and Brisbane to
assist with the provision of services necessary for both a successful work life and home life.
Additionally, specialist support officers have engaged community volunteers from the local
Rockhampton and Brisbane population to conduct English conversation language classes with
other work staff. Occupational Health and Safety briefings are delivered on-site in both English
and relevant languages to ensure all instructions are well understood.
In order for a successful sustainable workplace to continue, AWX Agribusiness has engaged
local community stakeholders to assist in all facets of the settlement process into Australia. Local
council and businesses are fully engaged in the program. Through working with these
stakeholders, on-site staff have been linked to relevant services and provide support (not limited)
to: real estate, migration legal advisory services, tax agents, Centrelink, financial institutions and
The approach that AWX Agribusiness has taken in conjunction with MDA continues to make a
substantial contribution to an industry that has experienced persistent labour shortages. With its
diverse workforce and emphasis on notions of cultural diversity and ethnicity, AWX Agribusiness
has assisted many newly arrived refugees to gain suitable and sustainable employment. In
September 2010, AWX Agribusiness was awarded the 2010 Queensland Multicultural Award
(Private Enterprise) for its outstanding work and support.
The collaborative work undertaken by AWX Agribusiness and MDA provides an excellent
example of opportunities for community organisations and government to partner with private
enterprise, particularly in regional Queensland, to:
deliver employment opportunities and pathways for people from refugee and culturally
and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Address labour shortages in regional areas.
Provide innovative approaches and strategies for Queensland’s economic development
It also exemplifies the importance and value of appropriate service delivery and support for
refugee and CALD individuals engaging in employment in regional and rural areas, including
provision of education, health, legal, language, financial and other essential settlement support
services. The provision of appropriate support services to workers from refugee and CALD
communities is effective in reducing staff turnover and increasing the capacity of employees from
refugee backgrounds to engage in long-term employment.
Jackaroo Program: Warwick, Queensland
From early 2010 MDA has referred clients to the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE’s
Jackaroo Jillaroo Employment Pathways Program for Migrants and Refugees. This is a three
month intensive course which combines Certificate II in Rural Operations with intensive English
language training through TAFE’s AMEP course.
Through the course, approximately 15 MDA clients have received training in cattle and sheep
work; horse riding; fencing; safe farm chemical use; water supplies and other agricultural training,
as well as English language training; work experience and job preparation skills. The course
includes accommodation and is conducted in Warwick.
Through combining English language training with work experience and study, the course has
provided MDA participants with valuable marketable employment skills and experience,
enhancing their employment opportunities. The course has also enabled clients to develop their
confidence and English language proficiency.
This program has received international and national media coverage -articles relating to this
course are attached.
This program demonstrates the value of developing and delivering programs incorporating
training, work experience, study opportunities and on-the-job English language preparation,
arming refugees and CALD communities with the skills, knowledge and expertise necessary to
gain employment and successfully settle in Queensland.