Territory Families is planning to provide subsidised accommodation as a tool to attract and retain social workers in Katherine.
Other government departments already provide subsidised and even free accommodation to workers in Katherine.
The Education Department manages 105 properties for Katherine teachers.
“The department currently offers teachers a rental subsidy which is determined by the type of accommodation that the employee is housed in,” an education department spokeswoman said.
The health department also provides accommodation for Katherine doctors, nurses and allied health staff.
“Medical officers are generally provided with accommodation as part of their employment package and nurses and allied health professionals are eligible to rent employee accommodation,” a health department spokeswoman said.
Territory Families is trying to find strategies to keep social workers in town to address the ongoing staff shortage.
Every social worker in Katherine looks after an average of 71 children, which is one of the highest social worker to child ratios in Australia.
A fact highlighted by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Territory Families CEO Ken Davies said the department was “having a really good look” at how they could better support regional staff.
“We are very keen to have a look at the way the education department employs its staff; it offers a set of conditions around housing as well that we do not currently offer. We have allowances that are built in to our workforce. The question is, are they enough?” Mr Davies said.
Territory Families is already providing temporary accommodation support for new staff relocating to Katherine.
“Housing is an important consideration for Territory Families when recruiting to regional areas, and we are reviewing current methods of accommodation support and investigating a range of long term support options,” a Territory Families spokeswoman said.
Three new sets of workers hostels are also being built due to the lack of “available accommodation” in town.
Tindal contractor, NT Energy wants to build a workers’ hostel at the back of the Beagle Motel.
Defence Department contractor LendLease has built a large hostel at the Tindal RAAF Base for more than 120 workers, complete with a swimming pool.
Katherine developers have even been called on to consider leasing homes to the NT Government for use as public housing to reduce waiting lists.
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