The Barkly region in the Northern Territory is the second-largest local government area in Australia centred around the junction of two great highways—the Stuart and Barkly. The region stretches from south of the old Telegraph Station at Barrow Creek in the south to the historical droving township of Newcastle Waters in the north. The largest town in the region is Tennant Creek (with a population of 3,252), approximately 1000km south of Darwin and 500km north of Alice Springs. The Barkly region is known for its million-acre cattle stations, gold mining heritage, iconic rock formations and strong Aboriginal culture.
The population of the region is estimated to be around 7,392 with approximately 72 per cent of the population made up of 16 Aboriginal language groups. Many Aboriginal people speak several languages with English being a third or fourth language—over 50 per cent of the population over 15 years of age speak a language other than English at home. There are 10 language groups with traditional ownership connections to the land, namely the Warumungu, Warlmanpa, Warlpiri, Wakaya, Jingili, Mudburra, Kaytetye, Alyawarr, Anmatyerre and Wambaya.
In April 2019 the Barkly Regional Deal was launched which is Australia’s first-ever regional deal that aims to build on the strengths of the region and improve its productivity and liveability by stimulating economic growth, improving social outcomes and supporting local Aboriginal Leadership. All three levels of government have committed to working closely with the Barkly community, including Aboriginal peoples, local business leaders, young people and not government organisation to ensure that the deal supports the community’s vision and aspiration.