A single year's doubling of the relocation allowance will likely replace housing subsidies for new teachers to Katherine.
The NT Government has agreed to initially double a relocation allowance for Katherine teachers in 2020, as part of what it says is an ongoing review into the region's teacher housing subsidy scheme.
Allowances for single teachers wanting to relocate would rise from about $5000 to $10,000 next year, reducing in 2021 to return to current levels in 2022.
The current Katherine teacher relocation rates are $755 per fortnight for employees with children and $546 per fortnight for those without.
The beefed up relocation allowances are seen as an inducement for new staff to move to the hardest place to recruit teachers in the NT, which the housing subsidy had been originally designed to do.
A review of the $2 million annual Katherine teacher housing subsidy was an outcome of the 2019 Budget Root and Branch program review, where it was identified the implementation of efficiency measures could potentially save $500,000 per year.
Consultation has been ongoing with teachers, principals, school communities and the Australian Education Union NT since the controversial announcement in April, and a final report is due before the end of 2019.
It is expected the housing subsidies may reduce slightly for existing teachers but may be phased out for new staff completely.
Rents would rise between $20-$45 a week for those who already have them under the latest negotiations.
Of about 300 education staff in Katherine, the department "was looking at" 94 education staff, including principals, who receive the subsidy, or about a third.
This latest model includes a set fortnightly rental cap and proposed staff contributions both of which are determined by an employee's remuneration package.
Throughout the consultation, the attraction and retention of quality teachers to the Katherine township has repeatedly been raised as a concern.
Education Minister Selena Uibo said: "The Government is implementing a plan for budget repair that is making tough decisions and every department needs to do its share of heavy lifting.
"The Katherine teacher housing subsidy has not been reviewed in 30 years and has not been indexed during this time. It has been identified as something that can operate more efficiently, delivering $500,000 in savings annually.
"We know it is important that we continue to attract quality teachers to Katherine, which is why we are supporting schools through this transition to a more equitable new model."
Katherine MLA Sandra Nelson said: "We have extensively consulted with teachers, principals, staff and the wider Katherine community throughout this review and we have listened.
"I have worked closely with the Minister for Education to ensure the transition to the new teacher housing subsidy model will not impact the ability of our Katherine schools to attract and keep quality teachers."
This decision, to be formally announced tomorrow, comes in the final week of school of this school term.
And if teachers follow through with their threats to leave Katherine schools the government has given them "information on alternative options that they may wish to consider to remain teaching in the Territory".
The NT Government unexpectedly announced in April it needed to remove $500,000 from its Katherine teacher rental subsidy scheme to help rescue its ailing Budget.
Housing subsidies have long been used as one method to attract teachers to remote areas like Katherine which both the teachers union and Education Department agrees has the highest turnover of teachers in the NT.
Katherine Times has been told the department is now seeking to have cuts, or changes as they are now being called, spread wider than first intend so the pain is shared more widely.
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