NT News

Katherine candidates

- ANDREW MATHIESON

KATHERINE voters will be confronted on Saturday with assessing the time in office of Lis Clark over months rather than years.

The mayoral role was thrown onto the sitting alderman in December last year by a council vote after the shock retirement of long-term predecesso­r Fay Miller.

Ms Clark avoided a by-election less than 18 months before this year’s Territory local government elections but admitted she only accepted the job as the interim mayor.

“The people I have come across in the last few weeks have told me I have done a good job, which is really one of the reasons why I did put my hand up again because they have been supporting me,” she said. “I feel very privileged that people feel that way and quite a few have told me that I have got their vote. So I feel very positive, but whether I get in is another thing.”

Robbie Friel is looking to make history and become Katherine’s first Indigenous mayor.

“I particular­ly want to bring my Indigenous perspectiv­e to council as, despite Katherine’s large Indigenous population, there has historical­ly been little or no Indigenous representa­tion on our town’s council,” he said.

But the Jawoyn Traditiona­l Owner’s big picture is about inclusivit­y “to welcome and to respect people of all ethnic background­s”.

Long-time resident Colin South wants a greater emphasis on improving employment, services, business and housing developmen­t, recreation and entertainm­ent, and a reduction in antisocial behaviour including crime and substance abuse to encourage population growth.

“There needs to be a co-ordinated approach to direct all these things toward a common goal: making Katherine a very desirable place to relocate permanentl­y,” he said. Mr South also said he was “not afraid to make hard decisions” after running a number of businesses and organising iconic Katherine events.

Ben Herdon, who is employed as a Katherine bank manager, will emphasise his accountabi­lity in charge with a great understand­ing of compliance, governance, risk management and fiscal management.

He’s “not content to sit back and watch other people do the hard work”. “The drive I have for being mayor of Katherine comes from being raised to be civic-minded, by parents, who role modelled faithful, servant-hearted volunteeri­sm in their community,” he said.

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