This is a Border (Town)

01. 07. 2016

Migrants are Vital – news story from The Border Chronicle



CLAIMS by Federal Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton that “illiterate and innumerate” migrants would “take Australian jobs” have caused local backlash.

Victorian documentary maker Malcolm McKinnon has said the remarks were “completely unfounded”.  Mr McKinnon has visited Bordertown over the last two months for a project with Country Arts SA.

“This is a Border(town)” will create video clips and multi-media stories about migrants in Bordertown and also the experience of locals who are “extending a hand of friendship” to those new to town. “It is obvious Peter Dutton doesn’t know anything about places like Bordertown where migrants and refugees are providing a really valuable role in doing work for which there isn’t an adequate local workforce, and I know that there are many other places around the country where this is also the case,” he said.

“When I was in Bordertown recently I met a number of people on different types of visas, particularly refugees who are the backbone of the labour force at the meat works and they’re a valuable part of the community. I was also talking to a range of people who are in various ways offering support to these people who are trying to make a new life for themselves – it’s a really inspiring story.”

JBS Bordertown plant manager Trevor Schiller said migrants are “absolutely” important to their business. “From a regional point of view Bordertown has low unemployment and without the migrant workers we probably wouldn’t operate,” he said. “We need people here and the guys settle in to train in the right environment with the right training systems and without them we would struggle to fill the positions.”

Member for Barker Tony Pasin agreed and reiterated the vital contribution migrants make to the Bordertown and Naracoorte communities. “The Tatiara and Naracoorte Lucindale areas enjoy relatively low unemployment, largely due to a number of industries that employ significant numbers of the local workforce,” he said. “For example, the production and processing of red meat is the second largest contributor to gross regional product for the Limestone Coast. The two export abattoirs in the region rely heavily on employing migrants to maintain their workforce. This is equally true of the viticultural, horticultural and other industries central to the region’s economy.”

Malcolm McKinnon

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Artist Residency


James Dodd, Mark de Nys, Malcolm McKinnon



About the Artist

Malcolm McKinnon

Malcolm McKinnon is an Australian artist and filmmaker working mainly in rural communities. Over the past 25 years, his work has encompassed oral history, urban planning, public and community art projects, critical writing and exhibitions. His current practice is mainly focused around documentary filmmaking and social history, motivated by an appreciation of living memory and local vernacular.

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About the Artist

James Dodd

James Dodd is an artist who has a strong interest in public space and often works on mural scale and community oriented outcomes. He has a multi-faceted visual arts practice that embraces a range of painting and sculptural approaches. He exhibits regularly across Australia and has had his work collected by major institutions, including the National Gallery of Australia. Dodd is an educator at Adelaide Central School of Art and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide.

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About the Artist

Mark de Nys

Mark de Nys is a Limestone Coast based Visual Artist ,Educator and Musician,with a background in Engineering and Design, he has worked on large scale public artwork throughout Australia, taking energy from things never before made, re-inventing and re imagining always questioning, Why? This is a Border(town) offers the rare chance to engage with local Blokes via the Men's Shed along with industry and council members, the outcome is organic and fluid embracing Men's mental health, there may be Windmills! Hope to see you on the Journey.

Country Arts SA recognises and respects that we are living and creating on Aboriginal Lands and we are committed to working together to honour their living cultures.