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Local government areas of the Northern Territory

Map of Australia with Northern Territory highlighted in red
Location of Northern Territory in Australia
Map of local government areas in the Northern Territory as of 1 July 2014

The Northern Territory is a federal Australian territory in north-central Australia. It is the third largest Australian federal division with an area of 1,348,094.3 square kilometres (520,502 sq mi) but the least populous with 245,929 inhabitants as at June 2019.[1] The Northern Territory is divided administratively into 17 Local government areas (LGAs) generally known as Councils who are responsible for providing local government services.[2]

Area types

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Local government areas of the Northern Territory" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

As of 1 July 2008, there were two classifications of local government in the Northern Territory:

  1. Municipalities (predominantly inner-city suburban areas and smaller rural towns), of which there were five; and
  2. Shires or Regions (predominantly rural or outer suburban areas), of which there were eleven shire councils.

The Northern Territory was unusual as a comparatively large share of the territory's population lived in unincorporated areas. In 2006, prior to the reorganisation of local government areas in the territory, 92 percent of the land area (1,237,999 km2 (477,994 sq mi) out of 1,349,130 km2 (520,900 sq mi)) with 16 percent of the population (30,523 out of 192,898), was unincorporated. This anomaly is due to the territory's very low population density, just 0.16 people per km2 (0.099 people per sq mi).[3]

Most of the unincorporated areas disappeared as a result of local government reform in 2008. The area remaining unincorporated is 19,790 km2 (7,640 sq mi), 1.47 percent of the total,[4][1] and contains 3.0 percent of the population in June 2019.[1]

By comparison, in the only other states or territories in Australia with unincorporated areas, only 0.02% of the population of New South Wales, 0.002% of Victoria's population and 0.6% of the population of South Australia, live in unincorporated areas.

Current local government areas

Local government area Council seat Region Type Year est. Land area[1] Population[5] Notes
km² sq mi 2021 2022
Alice Springs, Town of Alice Springs Central Australia Town 1 July 1971 (1971-07-01) 328 127 28,601 28,922
Barkly Region Tennant Creek Barkly Tableland Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 322,713 124,600 7,203 7,239
Belyuen Shire Belyuen Greater Darwin Shire 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 41 16 165 165
Central Desert Region Alice Springs Central Australia Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 281,312 108,615 4,124 4,114
Coomalie Community Government Council Batchelor Greater Darwin Council 7 December 1990 (1990-12-07) 2,056 794 1,403 1,399
Darwin, City of Darwin Greater Darwin City 1854 (1854) 111 43 85,397 85,158 Darwin Town and District Council formed, 1874; redesignated Darwin Town Council, 1915; redesignated Municipality of Darwin, 1955; redesignated City of Darwin, 1959
East Arnhem Region Nhulunbuy Arnhem Land Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 33,310 12,861 10,097 10,096
Katherine, Town of Katherine Katherine Town 3 March 1978 (1978-03-03) 7,417 2,864 10,706 10,802
Litchfield Council Freds Pass Greater Darwin Council 6 September 1985 (1985-09-06) 2,903 1,121 23,048 23,209
MacDonnell Region Alice Springs Central Australia Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 268,329 103,602 6,583 6,640
Palmerston, City of Palmerston Greater Darwin City 2000 (2000) (as a city) 53 20 39,641 40,447
Roper Gulf Region Katherine Katherine Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 185,210 71,510 7,442 7,487
Tiwi Islands Region Darwin Greater Darwin Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 7,483 2,889 2,738 2,744
Victoria Daly Region Katherine Katherine Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 153,287 59,184 3,224 3,265 De-amalgamated in 2014 into Victoria Daly and West Daly Regional Councils
Wagait Shire Wagait Beach Greater Darwin Shire 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 6 2 465 465 Formerly the Cox Peninsula Community Government Council, established on 28 April 1995.
West Arnhem Region Jabiru Arnhem Land Region 1 July 2008 (2008-07-01) 49,675 19,180 7,186 7,249
West Daly Region Wadeye Katherine Region 1 July 2014 (2014-07-01)[6] 14,070 5,432 3,426 3,439 Part of Victoria Daly Regional Council from 2008 until 2014 de-amalgamation

Former local government areas

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Map of old local government areas in the Northern Territory prior 1 July 2008

Prior to 1 July 2008, local government areas in the Northern Territory were classified as either :

  • Community Government Councils of which 51 existed,
  • Incorporated Associations (Commonwealth) of which three existed,
  • Municipalities of which six existed and
  • Special Purpose Towns of which there is only one example.


Community Government Councils

Incorporated Communities

Unincorporated Area

  • Unincorporated Area: A contiguous 92 percent of the area did not belong to any local government area. The LGAs were enclaves within unincorporated territory.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2018-19: Population Estimates by Local Government Area , 2018 to 2019". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2019.
  2. ^ Northern Territory LGA History Archived 26 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Population of Northern Territory 2022". Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  4. ^ "DLGH - Bushtel | Northern Region". Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009. and "DLGH - Bushtel | Alice Springs". Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Regional population, 2021-22 financial year | Australian Bureau of Statistics". 20 April 2023. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  6. ^[bare URL PDF]


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Local government areas of the Northern Territory
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