Local government elections | NTEC

Local government elections

Local government in the Northern Territory consists of 5 municipal councils and 12 councils in regional and remote areas. Of these, 2 municipalities (Darwin and Litchfield), 9 regional councils and one community government council are divided into wards.

Three municipalities (Alice Springs, Katherine and Palmerston) and 2 rural councils (Belyuen and Wagait) do not have a ward structure. The principal member in municipalities (generally called the mayor) is chosen by election; in regional councils, the principal member may be elected or chosen from within the council. The number of ordinary members varies from 6 to 14 per council and one to 5 per ward.

The Local Government Act 2019 and Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2021 outline the procedures for conducting local government elections and by-elections to fill casual vacancies. General local government elections are held on the fourth Saturday in August in the fourth year after the most recent previous general election was held.


A vacancy may occur due to the dismissal, resignation or death of a member.

Under the Local Government (Electoral) Regulations, if a vacancy occurs more than 18 months before the next general election, a by-election must be held. The by-election must be held within 4 months of the electoral commissioner being notified of the vacancy.

However, if a vacancy occurs within 18 months or less before the next general election, a council may appoint a person to a casual vacancy or leave the position vacant in accordance with its policy.

More information on local government elections in the Northern Territory can be found via the following links:

Council websites

Municipal councils (5)

Alice Springs Town Council | City of Darwin | Katherine Town Council | Litchfield Council | City of Palmerston

Regional councils (9)

Barkly | Central Desert | East Arnhem | MacDonnell | Roper Gulf | Tiwi Islands | Victoria Daly | West Arnhem | West Daly

Community government councils (2)

Belyuen | Coomalie

Shire councils (1)


Unincorporated areas

Small areas of land in the Northern Territory are not yet included under council arrangements ... more information