I was struck by a story in the Northern Territory News that Alice Spring's rents increase by 32.6 per cent in the past 12 months, bringing the average cost of a three-bedroom house to $572 a week and a two-bed unit to $361. By contrast, the higher vacancy rate in Darwin has dropped the median rent for a three-bedroom home in Darwin to $498 a week, and a two-bed unit to $388.
Trivia, I know, but I am always interested in real estate prices and rents across the country because of what it says about regional variation and trend. Population in the Darwin Statistical Division grew by 3,733 or 3.08 per cent in 2009. Presumably building has been catching up.
After being hit by the global financial downturn, NT businesses are reported to be now actively seeking new staff. The NT Government has set up an on-line data base to facilitate recruitment and job matching.
The News also carries regular stories on crocodiles, in this case a fisherman who fell into croc infested waters. I hadn't seen crocodiles until a few year's back when we went to North Queensland for a holiday. They are fearsome beasts.
Growth in population in Northern Australia has brought more people into contact and especially fisherman. Last week in Cairns a fisherman had a lucky escape when a 2.4 metre croc lunged at him. The warning signs you see are not to be ignored.
Staying in Cairns, it appears that the Federal Government has given Cairns $40 million to fund the building of a performing arts centre to act as the heart of a new cultural precinct. I always admire the way that architect's drawings can make things seem so grand.
Cairn's LGA (local government area) population was a bit over 127,000 at the 2006 census, up from 122,057 in 2001. Australians know that this is a big country, but because of modern communications we sometimes forget just how big. If you were to drive from Sydney to Cairns, you are looking at a 2,400k trip that will take you 30 hours driving time plus time for breaks.
On the other side of the continent, torrential rain has disrupted the peak tourism season in the Kimberley region.
Broome also appears to be having problems with camels, more precisely with camel operators (here, here, here). Apparently, two camel companies have been involved in a bitter dispute that has resulted in two criminal trials and a civil action in the Supreme Court.
I always thought that camels were cantankerous animals. Maybe this has rubbed off on the operators. Or am I being unfair to the camels?
All for now.