Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Sat 22 Dec 2012



The Northern Territory news Sat 22 Dec 2012

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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4 NT NEWS. Saturday, December 22, 2012. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 2 -D E C -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 4 C O L O R : C M Y K NEWS l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l ntnews.com.au Rent-free living for Terrys razor gang By NIGEL ADLAM TWO Territory government economic advisers driving the big cuts in public spending are living rent-free, courtesy of the taxpayers. The $1500-a-week rents on their luxury apartments are paid for them on top of their $7500-a-week wages. Neil Conn and John Gardiner are also having their electricity bills picked up by taxpayers. This means each of their packages are worth about $300,000 a year. Mr Conn and Mr Gardiner are living in $1 million apartments in Darwin city centre. Their contracts expire in late February but are expected to be renewed by Chief Minister Terry Mills. Mr Conn is chairman of the Management Renewal Board and Mr Gardiner a board member. They are examining Territory finances and playing a key role in recommending spending cuts and price rises. A senior CLP source said: A lot of us are very annoyed about all this but nobody has got the courage to speak out. Its bad enough these blokes being paid so much, but to live rent free as well is too much. Territorians are being asked to pay more for electricity to save Power and Water from going down the tube. Its not a good look to have government advisers living so well while all thats going on. Government spokeswoman Lisa Andrews said the rent was organised by the Chief Ministers Department. She said members of the Renewal Management Board were paid for out of pocket expenses. After the Management Renewal Board declared the Governments debt unsustainable, Mr Mills announced huge increases in the price of electricity, water and sewerage. This was followed in the mini-Budget by increases in the fees paid for vehicle registration, licences and government documents. A $20 fee was introduced for going into an MVR office. And pensioners were made to pay bus fares for the first time in many years. Hundreds of public servants have been put out of work when their employment contracts have expired and not been renewed. And many non-government organisations many of them involved in child protection have had their public funding removed or severely reduced. Katherine family Jake Stephenson, 23, Amy Oakley, 20, and 14-month-old daughter Caitlin Stephenson are having to live with their parents while they struggle to find a place of their own to rent in a market with no vacancies Picture: MICHAEL FRANCHI No lease on life in Katherine By NICOLE MILLS A YOUNG family were forced to move back in with their parents after their rent increased by $50 and they were unable to find another place to live. Jake Stephenson, 23, Amy Oakley, 20, and their 14-month-old daughter Caitlin are victims of the rental crisis in Katherine. The towns home vacancy rate is officially zero. Mr Stephenson said many people had waited for months to find a rental. Weve applied for a few things but if its a small unit youre not going to get it because theres so much of a backlog and you cant get a house because its more than one third of your wage, so they wont rent it to you, he said. I know a few people who have gone to Darwin because its easier up there. The Repco assistant manager said they had considered moving in with friends so they could afford a house but wanted to have their own space to raise their daughter. It would be nice to have a place for Christmas but I dont think its going to happen, he said. LJ Hooker Katherine property manager Annelisse Gauci said she had a long list of people waiting for rental properties. Most times when a property becomes available, theres already someone that has been allocated, Ms Gauci said. A lot of the properties dont hit the internet or advertising because weve got so many applicants lined up. There are a lot of people who are telling us they are staying at resorts or caravan parks before they find something because theres simply nowhere else to go. Social workers facing eviction TheMills Government has done somepretty lousy things to NTPSworkers since taking office, but this takes the cake FOURTEEN social workers found out that they face eviction from their NT government-owned homes yesterday when they saw the properties advertised on a real estate website. The staff were given just two days to agree to the rent increases, the Community and Public Sector Union said. Their government-owned furniture is to be given to charity. Union director Kay Densley said the social workers were distressed at the threat of being evicted under a new policy not to offer housing as a perk of the job. Imagine, six days out from Christmas and youre told you need to find a new place to live within three weeks in the Territorys housing market, she said. The Mills Government has done some pretty lousy things to NTPS workers since taking office, but this takes the cake. It was particularly cruel to advertise their homes for rent before telling them about the change in policy. Ms Densley said staff had been told they would be offered help to find new places to live or they could rent back their homes at higher rents and buy their own furniture. She said one rent rise was $60 a week. Ms Densley said the decision to no longer offer accommodation as part of some jobs in the Office of Children and Families would make it even harder to attract dedicated staff. The work can be quite difficult and challenging, she said. Being remunerated less and adding the challenge of finding accommodation in the Territory will put a lot of skilled people off. Several social workers have indicated that theyll leave the Territory as a result of this policy change. Theyll simply go and work elsewhere, taking their significant experience with them. Others dont even know that they have a decision to make theyre interstate for the holidays. It is also going to put a big strain on getting social workers to regional areas because if accommodation incentives are taken away, workers would prefer to live close to the amenities of Darwin.