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Abstract

This paper uses the Anmatjere region in central Australia to illustrate the way in which local government contributes to settlement patterns in sparsely settled, arid-zone Australia. Census-based profiles of the Anmatjere region are constructed, both over time (1996 to 2006) and comparing Aboriginal and other residents in 2006. The history of the Anmatjere Community Government Council from 1993 to 2008 is recounted, along with some account of our work with the Council from 2004. Finally the paper observes that, from July 2008, the Anmatjere region has become subsumed in a much larger amalgamated local government, the Central Desert Shire. Stretching from the Queensland to the Western Australian borders and with its central administration based outside its own boundaries in Alice Springs, this new, much larger, local government is also seen as potentially having a significant impact on settlement patterns.

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