Local Government in Darwin rural area

In March 1983, the Minister for Community Development, the Hon Ian Tuxworth MLA, established the Darwin Rural Advisory Council to consider options for a form of local government in the Darwin rural area. The report of the Advisory Council was handed to the Government in June 1984. The report was released for public consultation, and resulted in a considerable amount of public debate.

A number of general principles received wide support throughout the community.

These principles were:

  • that the Darwin City Council boundary should not be extended into the rural area nor should the rural area become wards of the Town of Palmerston
  • that the level of municipal services be in accordance with a rural lifestyle
  • that the imposition of rates in the immediate future was inevitable
  • that the rating system must be equitable.

In May 1985, Cabinet approved in principle the establishment of local government in the Darwin outer rural area.

A Cabinet submission was then developed on the options for implementing this proposal. 

Two primary issues were presented to Cabinet: whether the local government representatives should be appointed or elected, and what form the rating system might take e.g. a flat rate with concessions, or a land based rating system.

The submission recommended a fully elected council with four wards and a rating system based on unimproved capital value. 

The area to be covered by the new shire was proposed to include Gunn Point, Howard Springs, Humpty Doo, Noonamah, Berry Springs, Tumbling Waters and Darwin River Dam.

Cabinet approved the establishment of the new municipality as a Shire consisting of four Wards, that elections be held on 7 December 1985 for one alderman from each Ward and a Mayor or President from the whole of the Shire, and that a rating system be commenced from 1 July 1986 on a basis to be approved by the Minister.

Read the Cabinet decision - submission number 3663 and decision number 4295 of 3 September 1985 (3.5 mb).

Read the preliminary submission 3534 (2.4 mb).

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Last updated: 11 October 2017