Corey Iredale’s local roots run deep.
His great-grandfather, Dr Otto Louis Moritz Abramowski, was one of the early settlers of Mildura, and the town’s first doctor.
It seems fitting that Corey, with this family legacy, is now playing an instrumental role in establishing safe and affordable accommodation for Mildura’s seasonal workforce.
Corey, who works for the Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC), was the project manager for the recently constructed Ramsay Court Worker Accommodation facility, which received $800,000 through the Victorian Government’s Building Works package.
The 60-bed facility, which features a range of accommodation options from self-contained mini apartments to triple, bunk and single rooms, is a five-minute walk from the CBD and provides workers with easy access to local workplaces.
“We’ve got a facility that’s safe, secure and where the rent’s reasonable,” Corey said.
“It’s geared up for people that are coming over to work for a short time, maybe that’s a three-month period. They’re coming over here to make a bit of money, and then head back home,” he added, noting that the seasonal workforce is critically important to the local economy.
And things are off to a great start at Ramsay Court, with 60 seasonal workers currently housed in the facility. They are, by all accounts, loving it.
“The accommodation is amazing. It is better than anywhere else I have stayed in Australia,” said Fiamalo Fiamalo from Samoa.
“Everything is brand new and very clean, and we can get into town really easily,” he added.
With such great accommodation on offer and the variety of crops grown in and around Mildura meaning that seasonal workers are always in demand, Corey is confident that Ramsay Court will be hosting workers all year-round.
At the heart of it, Corey’s focus remains on helping seasonal workers have a good experience while they are in Mildura.
“Our thought is, instead of people living in an old house that is run down and costing them $160 bucks per week to share a four-bed bunk room, they can pay less money, and live in a newer, safer, cleaner and more hospitable environment,” he said.
“That’s what it’s about for us, it’s about providing safe and equitable housing for people.”
One imagines that Dr Abramowski would be proud.