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Our Communities

West Arnhem Regional Council covers an area of almost 50,000 square kilometres across West Arnhem Land, encompassing five remote communities, including two islands and more than 100 homelands. The five communities include Jabiru, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Warruwi and Minjilang and are scattered across salt and fresh water, stone country and within the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. 

Approximately, 6,281 people reside in the West Arnhem region and more than 81.1 per cent population identify as Aboriginal Australians or ‘bininj’ people. Our Council acknowledges the attachment and relationship of Aboriginal people to Country and the strong connections to culture and language continues within our communities and beyond.

During the 2021 Northern Territory Local Government Election, residents within each of the five West Arnhem Wards elected Councillors and a total of 12 representatives sit as the Council. Through Elected Members and the four Local Authorities, Council plays a large role in advocacy and representation for the people residing in our communities.

Supported by strong governance and leadership, our organisation has a large operational footprint providing high quality local government, community wellbeing and commercial services and all of which contribute to our vision of strong communities.


Our unique jurisdiction comprises five distinct Council wards:

Regional Overview

Population 6,281
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples 5,097 or 81.1%
Male 50.9%  
Female 49.1%
Median age 28
Families 1,444
Homelands Approx. 100
Land Area 49,675 square kms

Data source: 2021 Census


'Language' in the West Arnhem region is rich and diverse. West Arnhem Regional Council is dedicated to supporting and preserving the Aboriginal languages spoken within our region and there are a number of language groups and online resources available. 


With more than 80% of the region’s population identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Aboriginal culture remains strong in West Arnhem communities and traditional art, language, ceremony, customs, kinship and caring for country are fundamental parts of everyday life. Language and culture are the backbone of all Arnhem Land communities and surrounding homelands; linking justice, education, infrastructure investment, economic and social development, cultural wellbeing, community safety and accessibility for all local people. 

Changes to West Arnhem Regional Council ward boundaries

In 2020, West Arnhem Regional Council requested an important change to the ward boundaries which included the creation of a Minjilang and Warruwi Ward, and dissolving the Barrah Ward. 
On 16 December 2020, WARC was notified that the request was accepted by the Minister for Local Government through a Government Gazette notice.
This is an important change for the people of West Arnhem which will ensure there will be adequate representation of the Minjilang and Warruwi communities with fair and reasonable representation of the electors going forward.
This change of the constitutional arrangements has come about following a review of the ward boundaries conducted earlier this year by West Arnhem Regional Council. This involved consultation and a questionnaire which sought to determine the opinions of local people within the communities.