Rates, property prices and fracking occupied the thoughts of letter writers to the Katherine Times this week.
Property prices are going up
(From Alderman Toni Tapp-Coutts)
The Real Estate Institute NT (REINT) reported last week that the median price of houses in Katherine has risen from $312,000 to $335,000 in the past few months and rental property take ups by 50 per cent.
Katherine and Tennant Creek are the only places in the NT who are recording positive real estate growth after a few years of Australia wide housing slumps.
Alison Ross of Elders Real Estate said: "In the last 12 to 18 months there's been an employment increase and the rental market has picked up by 50 per cent in volume in the last 12 months".
A minority in this town, often supported by this paper, continues to portray the town as a crime ridden, poisoned water, slum of houses that no one can sell, run by a council who is ripping them off.
While it is the duty of the media to tell stories both good and bad it is surely also a corporate responsibility in a small town to help promote it in its true light of a bustling multi-cultural town with great people, plenty of work, festivals, sport and recreation nestled in between four National Parks and 60,000 years of culture that over a quarter of million people come to see every year.
Over 5000 people use the sports grounds every week.
Those 5000 are families who tirelessly volunteer and love their community, whose kids go to the schools, whose parents work in local jobs.
They use the Council roads, footpaths, parks, showgrounds, markets facility, Hot Springs, Visitor Information Centre, Museum, the pool, dump, library, cemetery to name a few, and happily pay their rates because they know that we have a lot of great facilities to maintain.
I believe that the council does a great job within its financial capabilities to maintain these facilities at a high standard.
Seventy people turning up to a rates meeting does not reflect the opinions of the other 4000 rate payers who did not turn up.
The same two or three contributors to the weekly Letters to the Editor does not reflect the opinions of the 10,500 people who live happily in this community.
I am proud to be an Alderman on the Katherine Town Council who runs a very tight ship.
I am proud to work with an amazing group of council staff who are passionate and committed to making our town the best ever!
Toni Tapp Coutts, Alderman, Katherine.
Mayor's fracking call ignored
(From Bruce Francais)
The Mayor of Katherine and Katherine residents have been treated with disdain by the NT Government in respect to fracking exclusion zones.
In mid 2014 Fay Miller called for the NT Government to ensure that the entire Katherine municipality would be excluded from fracking.
The only area shown to be excluded from mining exploration at the time was the immediate township area.
The Member for Katherine at the time, Willem Westra van Holthe, was a strong supporter of fracking in the Territory, in line with Country Liberal policy.
He was fully supportive of the Mayor's desire to have fracking excluded from the entire municipal area. however he was inconsistent, stating that, quote "his government did not want to set a precedent for the NT by excluding an entire municipality from gas mining".
He did add however that it, quote "made good sense to do so".
Willem informed the media that he quote "did not want oil and gas companies operating on his land", his land lies within the municipality, "and if they are they would have to get through himself first in order to do so".
In more recent times, Fay Miller has been appointed as one of Katherine 's two representatives on the Chief Minister's steering committee intended to oversee the introduction of fracking in the NT.
Fay is strongly supportive of Katherine and is fully aware of the strong anti-fracking sentiment in the community.
She has said that she would always support her community members.
The Gunner administration is also well aware of the strong anti-fracking sentiment in the community, and of the fact that it won the conservative seat of Katherine in the last election due partly to the fact that its candidate campaigned on an anti-fracking platform.
Despite the government being aware of the situation, the Mayor and the community are being treated with disdain.
The newly released map shows that fracking is to be excluded merely from the township area, Tindal RAAF Base and the rural college.
It is little wonder that the NT Labor Government realises that it's got Buckley's chance of retaining the seat of Katherine in the next election.
Bruce Francais, Katherine.
What price my opinion on fracking
(From Shirley Crane)
It seems the NT Government will spare no expense to get the opinions it desires to justify its decision to proceed with fracking.
It's engaged an exceedingly expensive South Australian market research company to pay attendees at its 'market research' function $100 for their opinions, but who exactly was invited to attend?
No one I know managed to snare a golden ticket, and when a friend did try to register, she was informed it was 'full'.
She tried the online link - no luck with that, either, and when she tried to forward the link to others, including me, it wouldn't send.
I guess free opinions aren't the ones the Government really wants to hear.
Shirley Crane, Katherine.
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