LESS than two weeks prior to the official opening of the new Cultural Precinct the Katherine Town Council has been taken aback by an unexpected condition outlined by the Northern Territory Government for an additional contribution to the funding for the new centre.
The new Municipal Plan 2012 to 2017 has outlined a submission from the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre for another $30,000 per annum - on top of the yearly $30,000 existing budget allocation - “to allow for an administration/front of house or project officer to be employed as well as aid in the on-going sustainability of the Centre”.
“Additional late advice received from the Chairman of Katherine Regional Cultural Precinct Ltd (Mr Craig Lambert) is that a specific condition of the operational grant provided to the Company from NTG is that ‘this funding is conditional upon the Katherine Town Council providing additional financial and in-kind support’,” last week’s Town Council agenda stated.
Katherine Mayor Fay Miller said the unexpected condition has come as a blow.
“I’m not happy ... there has been no consultation about additional funding with myself or the Katherine Town Council CEO. It is a bit of a slap in the face, and in fact, I find it offensive,” she said.
Town Council Chief Executive David Laugher said the council was not troubled so much by the need to fill this additional funding requirement, but by the Government’s approach to imposing the condition.
“It was a foolish way of going about negotiating. There is a level of courtesy required between tiers of government which should be observed,” Mr Laugher said.
Last Tuesday, the Town Council voted as to how they would respond to the government’s condition.
Four options were discussed, which included simply acquiescing to the condition at the expense of other projects; holding discussions with the cultural precinct about sourcing alternative funds; funding the $30,000 per annum commitment by raising rates; or simply withdrawing all funding from what is ultimately a Northern Territory Government-owned facility and reallocating the existing budget pledge of $30,000 to something else.
For the full story, see this week's July 4 edition of the Katherine Times newspaper.