In October 2006 the Northern Territory Government announced the reform of local government areas. The intention of the reform was to improve and expand the delivery of services to towns and communities across the Northern Territory by establishing eleven new super shires.
The Barkly Shire Council was created on 1 July 2008 as were the remaining ten shires. Barkly Shire became the second largest Local Government area in Australia at 323,514km2, after East Pilbara shire in Western Australia at 380,000km2.
This notoriety lasted less than a year as two areas in Greenland, Qaasuitsup 660,000km2 and Sermersooq 531,900km2 incorporated on 1 January 2009, took the top honours.
Following a review of Local Government, the Northern Territory Government announced that amongst other changes the name “Shire Council” would be changed to “Regional Council” in the eight large Northern Territory Shires.
Council agreed to introduce this change on the 1st January 2014. This marked the start of a new era for the Barkly Regional Council.
The Northern Territory Government also flagged increasing the responsibility of Local Authorities, formerly known as Local Boards, in representing local communities and Towns. The name change and the change in Local Authorities reflected a growing sophistication and acknowledgment of the developing regional responsibility of the Barkly Regional Council.
The Barkly Regional Council is divided into four wards, and is governed by a President and 12 Councillors:
Alyawarr Ward (4)
Patta Ward (5)
Alpurrurulam Ward (1)
Yapakurlangu Ward (2) – * Recommended and endorsed by Council in 2015 for Yapakurlangu to be renamed Kuwarrangu. Kuwarrangu will be the new ward name when gazetted by the Minister for Local Government
The most recent election of Councillors was held on 23 March 2012. The current President (Mayor) of the Council is Barbara Shaw with one elected member resigning in March 2016.
Due to elections being held for both the Federal and Northern Territory governments in 2016, the next council elections will now be held in August 2017. Council co-opted a new member of the Patta Ward in June 2016 to complete the current team.