A first-generation dairyfarmer is using a regional leadership scholarship to help relocate migrants to south-west Victoria.
Lauren Peterson from Grattons Gate Dairy in Naroghid was the successful recipient of a Gardiner Dairy Foundation Scholarship for the Leadership Great South Coast Program.
Ms Peterson said successful recipients were divided into groups and she eagerly put her hand up to be part of an extension of the Great South Coast Economic Migration Program, which this year has seen three migrant families from Africa relocate to Hamilton.
Ms Peterson is working on the project with Glenelg Shire Council.
“This will provide mutual benefit to both the region and its potential new families,” she said.
“Those that relocate to our region can help revive some of our rural communities that often experience population decline, while also finding employment and a great quality of life for themselves.
“The Great South Coast Economic Migration Program has been quite successful in the Southern Grampians Shire so we are working to replicate that.”
Ms Peterson moved to the south-west with her partner Tony in 2014. Her background includes working in the welfare sector and emergency services industry.
“I have a real passion for community development and connectedness,” she said.
“I also really miss the multiculturalism that I grew up with having lived in Melbourne and I can really see the benefits of living in a multicultural society.”
Ms Peterson said she hoped the program would help fill the labour shortage in the dairy industry, with a lot of African migrants having an agricultural background in rural communities.
“As a passionate dairy industry advocate, I hope to acquire learnings through the program that I can use to drive engagement and support people to embrace the opportunities available to our industry,” she said.