Small town has big plans



The Barkly, population 7392, has chalked up the nation’s first Regional Deal, a $78.4m joint partnership between the Australian, the NT and local governments.

The plucky council hosted the Acting Prime Minister recently and seems to be overtaking CARGO, a similar initiative in Alice Springs but less advanced in terms of detail.

The Barkly project sees itself as a vital part of the NT Government’s planned $40 billion Gross State Product by 2030, creating 35,000 jobs and boosting the Territory population beyond 300,000 in response to the economic impact of COVID, with mining, gas, agribusiness and tourism high on the agenda.

Major Barkly projects will be:–

• A railway line from Tennant Creek to Townsville with an integrated inland port, transport and logistics hub.

• Growth and support of the pastoral and agribusiness sector.

• Investment in tourism and creative arts including the Desert Harmony Festival, the Nyinkka Nyunyu Arts and Culture Centre, the Battery Hill Mining Centre and a Grand Prix Street Racing Circuit.

• Growth and support of the energy and renewable energy sector.

• Development of social infrastructure and support services.

• Improved communications (mobile and Internet coverage).

Development projects are planned to include the Southern Barkly Agriculture area and the Aboriginal Land Economic Development Agency (ALEDA ), the Singleton Horticulture Project, Ti Tree Farms and the Neutral Junction proposals.

Tennant should have the largest solar farm in the world, the promoters argue, with the proposed Australia to Singapore power link worth $20 billion progressing in its planning.

“The Beetaloo Sub Basin is one of the most promising shale gas resources anywhere in the world,” says the deal’s promotional material, as the Childcare Places Consultancy Report August 2020 calls for progress as well as “fast mobile and internet coverage” – demonstrating the width of the initiative’s focus.

The planners will be casting around for land “with high development potential to attract investment and preparation of land for industry, including investigation of an industrial land release in Elliott”.

Land will be needed for waste management and recycling, further development of mining, and  growing the defence sector.

Beautification in the town itself will see parks and gardens developed, and improvements to arts trails.

Pictures Tennant Creek township; Lake Mary Ann.


  1. Another example of rorting with pork barrelling. One aim to get Jacinta Price elected failed for now, but the other aim to get Stephen Edgington elected succeeded.

  2. “A railway line from Tennant Creek to Townsville with an integrated inland port, transport and logistics hub.”
    Er … what about the existing railway line to Darwin?
    Which took the best part of a century to get built.
    Which is running at a loss.
    And Darwin, last time I looked, is a port!
    PG, this is not a promise, it is a fantasy!
    What are these guys smoking?
    Sorry, giving marijuana a bad name, they must be shooting up some heavy duty Ice.
    This is beyond satire.
    My gob is not just smacked, it is pulverised.

  3. @ Charlie Carter: Such cynicism – haven’t you noticed the countless promises that have been kept over the years?
    Greetings from the Growth Town (Hub) of Yuendumu.
    It all reminds me of a graffiti I encountered in a book by Eduardo Galeano:
    Basta de hechos! Queremos promesas. (Enough of deeds – we want promises!)

  4. @ Frank Baarda: One of the great sights approaching Yuendumu in the 60s to 80s was the archway over the entrance with the Magpie emblem on top.
    A beaut positive image that always made me smile.
    Haven’t been there for a lot of years. Is it still there?

  5. @ John Bell: I might as well join the opportunists, and take the opportunity to publicize my up and coming book, My Yuendumu Story.
    The topic ‘Yuendumu then and now’ (page 382) includes: “The welcome arch is no longer at the edge of Yuendumu and has seen better days. The Collingwood Club Magpies shield at its apex is missing. Before reaching the arch there is now Yuendumu’s largest building, the lit up police complex and you may also notice the barbed wire topped walls of the women’s safe house and a few more duly fenced in residences.”
    Despite all of such, Yuendumu is still a great place which I consider home.

  6. @ thanks Frank. Wonderful stuff! My memories of Yuendumu are treasured.
    I will be hugely interested to read your book. Especially your thoughts on the Black Olympics.
    And its characters.
    Peter Toyne was an an interesting bloke. And a top pro 400m runner in his time.
    I have some good pics of the 1984 Sports Weekend taken by a professional photographer.


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