The Territory has lost one of its greatest champions with the passing of former Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer and long-term Member for Katherine Mike Reed.
Tributes for the Katherine community leader, historian and CLP stalwart were led today by current CLP leader Lia Finocchiaro.
"On behalf of the Country Liberal Party, I extend my sincere condolences to Mike's wife Ann, children Steven, Megan and David and his many friends at this saddest of times."
First elected in March 1987, Mike was a visionary Territorian and an integral figure during the CLP Governments of the 1980s and 90s.
He served as the Country Liberal Party Member for Katherine in the Legislative Assembly for 16 years, retiring in 2003.
Mike was Deputy Chief Minister from 1995 until 2001, during the CLP Governments led by both Shane Stone and Denis Burke.
His service as Treasurer was exemplary and he also held many other Ministerial portfolios including: Health and Community Services, Primary Industry and Fisheries, Mines and Energy, Lands, Planning and Environment, Tourism, Police and Parks and Wildlife.
Mike was at the forefront of the recovery of Katherine after the Australia Day floods in 1998 and the NT's response to East Timor self-determination in 1999.
More reading: Former MLA Mike's memories of the devastating '98 flood.
Mike entered politics after a career with the NT Conservation Commission where he was a Wildlife Ranger and a Regional Manager.
He was also a passionate ornithologist and historian, and became a popular author on birdwatching and World War Two in the Northern Territory.
Mike was passionate about Katherine and its region and had a deep understanding of the Territory's natural environment and its natural advantages, which was reflected in his work as Member for Katherine, as a Minister, as well as in his interests outside politics.
Mike was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and the community of Katherine. His love for his home town of Katherine was evident in him always referring to it as the 'Centre of the Universe'.
The Territory is all the better for having Mike as a determined and tireless advocate. Mike leaves a long and proud legacy of achievements and we are all beneficiaries of his hard work.
Mike was a true Territorian and will be missed, but always remembered.
Current Katherine MLA Jo Hersey said Mr Reed had guided her successful campaign at the August elections.
"Words can not describe what a great mentor he was to me through the campaign and a steady guiding influence with his knowledge and expertise," Mrs Hersey said.
"I will miss him immensely and can't imagine how Ann and the family are coping except one day at a time and one foot in front of the other."
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