Name: Toni Tapp Coutts
Occupation: Alderman of Katherine Town Council and Executive Officer Katherine Regional Arts
Hobbies/Interests: Photography and writing, event management, the arts and the environment.
I am standing for Mayor because:
I have a vision to rejuvenate the town to promote local business and tourism because Katherine is a great place to live work and play. In the past four years on Council I have worked with a team that has built some good foundations with the new Children’s Play Park, the building of the Cultural Centre, and building two new roundabouts and more public toilets. I plan to further develop on these by pursuing funding for a family Waterpark.
I will ensure that the community has full input into the new Katherine Land Use Plan to ensure we plan for a town that grows and caters appropriately to our unique community and future growth.
Three main drawing cards for Katherine are:
1. It is an easy place to live with plenty of work and opportunities for people who want to have a go.
2. The mix of cultures and the sense of living in and being a part of the outback.
3. Fabulous tourist attractions and being the cross roads of the North, a town surrounded by four National Parks.
Three areas Katherine needs to improve in (and how):
1. We need to engage more with all sectors of the community and be more inclusive. I would do this by opening the council up to the aged, youth, young families, business leaders, indigenous, government and non government organisations to work together on the important issues facing us now and how to better cater and plan for future growth.
2. Council does a reasonable job of maintaining the town on a tight budget but there are a lot of things we can do better. We need to tidy up the general presentation of the town. This can be easily achieved with renewing and updating signage and maintaining medium strips, footpaths, and roads at a higher standard.
3. We must enforce our Council bylaws to address issues of illegal camping, littering, parking and dogs. We need to continue to review and improve our customer service to ensure the community understands the roles and responsibilities of Council.
As the Mayor of Katherine I would:
Promote, promote and promote Katherine as a fantastic tourist destination.
Lobby the NT and Federal Government for more funding to outfit and develop Stage 2 of the Cultural Precinct which would provide more work for local builders and contractors.
Lobby and seek funding for the development of the new visitor entrance and display areas for the Katherine Museum.
Promote sporting events and ride on the glory of Cadel Evans to attract a major bike/triathlon event to Katherine
Lobby Government to re zone and allow block owners to be able to subdivide into smaller blocks to allow for more private housing.
Lobby the Government to urgently build more public housing and more aged care facilities.
To tackle anti-social behavior in Katherine I would:
1. Lobby hard and loud for the NT Government use the ‘Return to Home Program’ to get people back to their communities.
2. Lobby the NT Gov and Indigenous Organisations to build another Hostel and to commit to providing emergency housing and more family housing in Katherine and in the communities.
3. Works towards a more coordinated approach with the service providers to get people housed and get children to school.
My main ideas to make the main street/town more attractive to visitors are:
Establish a Family tree planting program down Giles Street and at the Cemetery.
Establish a Botanical Gardens and Heritage Precinct along Railway Terrace into Ryan Park and across the old bridge.
I would create more public art and good signage that tells the stories of the town. I would also repaint the bridge marker, get the river camera working and revamp the Katherine Festival to become a major event for locals and to attract tourists to town.
To keep the town clean and attractive at all times.
I plan to engage the community in Council activities by:
Taking Council back to the community and holding information stalls at the Community Markets and the shopping centres.
I will invite residents from all sections of the community such as the Seniors, Youth, residents from Kalano and Binjari, businesses etc to morning teas and meetings to talk with elected members, and discuss their issues of concern and ideas for improving their areas of town.
I will invite the schools to attend Council meetings to encourage them to participate and learn about Local Government and their community
Revamp the KTC Community Grants and support major community events such as the Katherine Show, and the sports.
I have strong ethics and a strong passion to take this town into a new era of being a growing dynamic community that plays a significant role in the social, cultural and economic development of the Northern Territory.
I will bring to the Mayoral office a new energy and most importantly I will represent and consult with all sectors of our great community.