Local government areas of the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory is a federal Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of 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 247,327 inhabitants as at June 2018.[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

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.

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,[3][1] and contains 3.0 percent of the population in June 2018.[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 Notes
km² sq mi 2013[4] 2018[4][1]
Alice Springs Town CouncilAlice SpringsCentral AustraliaMunicipality1 July 1971 (1971-07-01)328 12728,12426,534
AlyangulaAlyangulaArnhem LandUnincorporated area1960s2 1986[5]873[6]
Barkly Regional CouncilTennant CreekBarkly TablelandRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)322,713 124,6007,8107,392
Belyuen Community Government CouncilBelyuenGreater DarwinShire1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)41 16199174
Central Desert Regional CouncilAlice SpringsCentral AustraliaRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)281,312 108,6154,3634,208
Coomalie Community Government CouncilBatchelorGreater DarwinShire7 December 1990 (1990-12-07)2,056 7941,3691,391
Darwin, City ofDarwinGreater DarwinCity1959 (1959) (as a city)111 4382,99684,613
  • Darwin Town and District Council  formed 1874
  • Darwin Town Council  formed 1915
  • Municipality of Darwin  formed 1955
  • City of Darwin  formed 1959
Darwin Rates Act Area (East Arm)Greater DarwinUnincorporated area52 20
East Arnhem Regional CouncilNhulunbuyArnhem LandRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)33,310 12,86110,67710,345
Katherine Town CouncilKatherineKatherineMunicipality3 March 1978 (1978-03-03)7,417 2,86410,76110,621
Litchfield CouncilFreds PassGreater DarwinMunicipality6 September 1985 (1985-09-06)2,903 1,12122,19525,598
MacDonnell Regional CouncilAlice SpringsCentral AustraliaRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)268,329 103,6026,9116,863
Nhulunbuy CorporationNhulunbuyArnhem LandUnincorporated area7 34,072[7]3,240[8]
Palmerston, City ofPalmerstonGreater DarwinCity2000 (2000) (as a city)53 2032,46237,862
Roper Gulf Regional CouncilKatherineKatherineRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)185,210 71,5107,2077,397
Tiwi Islands Regional CouncilDarwinGreater DarwinRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)7,483 2,8893,0012,753
Unincorporated Top End Region (Finnis-Mary)Greater DarwinUnincorporated area19,263 7,437
Victoria Daly Regional CouncilKatherineKatherineRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)153,287 59,1843,3123,138De-amalgamated in 2014 into Victoria Daly and West Daly Regional Councils
Wagait Shire CouncilWagait BeachGreater DarwinShire1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)6 2459508Formerly the Cox Peninsula Community Government Council, established on 28 April 1995.
West Arnhem Regional CouncilJabiruArnhem LandRegion1 July 2008 (2008-07-01)49,675 19,1807,2906,902
West Daly Regional CouncilWadeyeKatherineRegion1 July 2014 (2014-07-01)[9]14,070 5,4323,649Part of Victoria Daly Regional Council from 2008 until 2014 de-amalgamation
YularaYularaCentral AustraliaUnincorporated area103 40986[10]1099[11]

Former local government areas

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. "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Local Government Area (ASGS 2018), 2017 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. Northern Territory LGA History Archived 26 October 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) and "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "People: Population: ERP by LGA (ASGS 2018), 2001 to 2018". ABS.Stat. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Alyangula (SLA)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Alyangula (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  7. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Nhulunbuy (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  8. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Nhulunbuy (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  9. https://dhcd.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/155922/West_Daly_Restructure_Order_2014.pdf
  10. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Yulara (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  11. Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Yulara (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 April 2018.


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