Why Is The Northern Territory Not A State In Australia? – Holidays In Oz

Why Is The Northern Territory Not A State In Australia?

The Northern Territory (NT) is a northern central territory in Australia. It shares its borders with Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia. To the north, this vast territory looks out upon the Timor Sea. the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Arafura Sea – which includes Western New Guinea and the islands of the Indonesian archipelago.

Covering an area of 1,349,129 square kilometres (or 520, 902 square miles), it is the third-largest Australian federal division, while also being the eleventh largest country subdivision in the world. With the land area being so vast, the population is rather sparsely dispersed, only amounting to 247,000 people – which equates to being about one per cent of Australia’s total population. The largest population resides in the centre, within the capital city of Darwin.

Regardless of the fact that Darwin may not be the most common tourist destination of choice in Australia, the city is famous for having an abundance of multi-cultural food, outdoor markets, and many outdoor/waterside attractions.

The Northern Territory in Australia is not a state because there isn’t enough tax revenue generated to allow that form of financial independence – making it so it is reliant on funding from every other state.

In 1901, during the time of federation in Australia, when all colonies joined to become a single country, the Northern TerritoryOpens in a new tab. was still a part of the state of South Australia. For years after, there was little question as to why a state called South Australia ran throughout the middle of the country, from the north to the south.

However, in the year 1908, the government of South Australia began to speculate about this fact – particularly after looking into the financial situation of the northern portion of the state. For the next three years, there were major discussions surrounding the separation or division of the southern portion of the state, from the far north.

In 1911, during the time of separation, the Northern Territory’s total population was approximately 3000 people – not including the Aboriginal population(s). Apart from the capital city, Darwin, there were only a few known cattle ranchesOpens in a new tab..

It was determined that the entire area would need to be heavily developed in order to attract more businesses and people, and thus, generate more revenue.

However, the cost of providing services, building infrastructure, and modernizing the area was far too steep. The northern portion of the state was essentially destroying the Southern Australian government and financial status.

It was then determined that the most appropriate solution would be to hand over the least populated and lowest financial earning portion of the state to the federal government. This way, the cost of the state could be shared by all other states, as opposed to only Southern Australia. If this did not occur, it was more than likely that the northern portion of the state would have to be taken by another country – like Britain.

Fast forward to the present day, when the Northern Territory is a federally controlled territory. The population has increased, as well as the mining industry, however, this has not been enough to allow the Northern Territory to become a self-sufficient state.

Annually, the Northern Territory only generates about 29% of its total revenue, with the remainder coming from federal funding. The Northern Territory does not have legislation to create laws for itself – this is also done by the federal government.

Why Did South Australia Give Up The Northern Territory?

The main reason behind South Australia giving up the Northern Territory came down to finances. At the time, the northern portion of the state was not generating nearly as much annual revenue as the southern portion of the state. Because of this, the north became a large financial burden, with no possibility of this changing, without a mass amount of help.

The southern portion of the state would have to solely fund the development needed to create further infrastructure, jobs, etc. This was deemed as far too great a task, so at this time, Southern Australia became its own state and forfeited the northern portion to the federal government.

When Did The Northern Territory Leave Southern Australia?

On January 1st, 1911, only a decade after the Federation of Australia, the Northern Territory was separated from South Australia. At the same time, the Australia Capital Territory was separated from New South Wales. Both of these territories were then transferred over to federal control.

Who Owns The Northern Territories?

While the Northern Territory is under federal control, Aboriginal Australians own 50% of the land. Aboriginal landOpens in a new tab. is considered private property and is owned under a special freehold title. This land is inalienable, which essentially means that it cannot be bought, forfeited, or acquired by someone else.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act was established in 1978, making it so Aboriginal people gained an inalienable freehold title of the Northern Territory – including about 85% of the coastline.

By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World – Australia: Aboriginal Culture 011Uploaded by berichard, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14018980

Why Are There Two Territories In Australia?

As previously discussed, the Northern Territory was originally part of South Australia but was detached ten years after the federation of Australia on January 1st, 1911. The other territory in Australia is referred to as the Australian Capital Territory, which was originally established on the same date and was referred to as the Federal Capital Territory.

This territory was created as created in order to house the newly founded capital city, Canberra. After the establishment of the territory, the construction and planning of Canberra followed. The Parliament of Australia finally moved to Canberra in 1927, with it being officially renamed the Australian Capital Territory in 1938.

What Is The Difference Between A State And Territory?

The main difference between a state and a territory is the governing powers that preside over the area. This division was created in order to help with the administration of the states and territories. The states in Australia were separated prior to the forming and creation of the Australian federal government. Therefore, Australian states have their own state governments, whereas territories are directly under the control of the federal government.


We have travelled to many great places around Australia and hope to share our travel tips, hacks, and adventures with you. So come with us as we explore the great down under! Read more about us here

Leave a Reply

More Pages On NT