Big Rivers

  • $1, 669.4

    gross regional
    product ($M)
    NIEIR 2020

  • 981

    total registered
    businesses
    ABS 2020

  • 8,527

    employed residents
    NIEIR 2020

  • Public Administration
    and Safety

    largest industry
    (by employment)
    NIEIR 2020

  • 8, 766

    local jobs
    NIEIR 2020

  • 21, 250

    population
    ABS ERP 2020

Located in the top end of the Northern Territory approximately 200km south of Darwin, the Big Rivers Region extends from the Western Australia border in the west, the Gulf of Carpentaria along the Queensland border to the east and over 500km to the south.

The region accounts for approximately 25 per cent of the Northern Territory’s land area at 340,000km², encompassing three Local Government Areas (LGAs); Katherine Town Council, Victoria Daly Regional Council and Roper Gulf Regional Council.

At the heart of the region is Katherine; the major township and the fourth largest settlement in the Northern Territory.

Katherine is strategically located at the juncture of the Darwin to Adelaide north-south transcontinental rail route and the Stuart Highway; the Northern Territory’s main arterial highway connecting the regional road network to major trade routes from Australia’s east, south and west coasts.

With a broad-based economy driven by key industry sectors including resources, agriculture, tourism and public administration and safety (including defence), the region boasts some of the most significant economic activity in Northern Australia including:

  • One of the largest deposits of zinc-lead in the world at McArthur River Mine
  • The exploration of the Beetaloo Sub-basin as a world-class shale gas resource and home to over three-quarters of the Northern Territory’s prospective shale gas resources with an indication of a ‘P50 gas-in-place resource’ of at least 500 trillion cubic feet in one shale layer alone
  • Home to the Grow Out Facility for Project Sea Dragon as Australia’s largest aquaculture development. Project Sea Dragon is a large-scale, integrated, land-based prawn aquaculture project with potential to generate 130,000 – 180,000 tonnes of black tiger prawns per annum
  • Katherine’s photovoltaic park (34 MW) ;the largest solar farm in the Northern Territory and a major contributor to the Northern Territory Government’s objective of producing 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030
  • Home to Larrimah Agricultural Precinct Development; one of the three largest agriculture land releases in the history of the Northern Territory delivering almost 100,000 hectares into production in the coming years
  • Production of 20% of Australia’s mango supply and 38% of Australia’s premium live beef exports
  • Home to some of the most renowned tourism destinations in Northern Australia including Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge),Elsey and Judbarra National Parks.

Last updated: 24 September 2021

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