Some teachers are today weighing up their future on whether to stay or leave Katherine.
"We have members from Katherine on the phone saying they are liable to move because of this," union representative Alyson Kavanagh said today.
Teachers warn they are likely to vote with their feet on the NT Government's decision announced yesterday to do away with rental subsidies in Katherine.
The government says $500,000 will be saved to help rescue its ailing Budget.
Housing subsidies have long been used as one method to attract teachers to remote areas like Katherine which the union has said has the highest turnover of teachers in the NT.
Similar inducements are used to attract other professions to the town.
Budget fix documents state there is already an established private market available for rental accommodation in Katherine.
But Ms Kavanagh, the Australian Education Union NT organiser for the Katherine region, said teachers were appalled by the move.
"There are no other subsidies offered to teachers in Katherine, and despite what the government says, the rental market there is not strong at all."
Ms Kavanagh said it would be the town's 2052 students who would be the losers.
"There is already a lot of insecurity in Katherine anyway, more than 50 per cent of the teachers there are on (fixed term) contracts, there is lots of turnover."
Commenting on our Facebook page last night in response to more than 90 expressions of anger over the move from residents, Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson responded with a post of her own saying no firm decision had been made.
"We will have to make tough decisions to fix the budget, including a review of teacher housing in Katherine to bring it into line with that in Alice Springs and Darwin," Ms Nelson wrote.
"Changes to teacher employee housing subsidy is a recommendation proposed by the Department of Education.
"Any change to employee housing in Katherine will not be immediate. A clear and well planned implementation process will be developed in consultation by the Department of Education with key stakeholders.
"It is important that everyone understand that right now, teacher housing subsidies will be reviewed for consideration and a decision will be made after consultation."
Ms Nelson said Katherine teachers receiving the subsidy "will be individually contacted" from the return to school next week "to discuss the next steps in the review process".
Ms Kavanagh said there had been no consultation with the AEU on the issue of Katherine.
She said the government had promised no frontline services, including teachers, would be impacted by its Budget fix.
"How does this not impact on Katherine teachers?"
She said the cost of recruiting more teachers from Katherine would be far greater than the $500,000 the government hoped to save.
"Schools may have to dip into their own budgets to offer these sort of subsidies to recruit staff."
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