Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Bridgette Bellenger

General Manager, Territory Regional Growth, NT Government - Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet

Bridgette Bellenger


The Barkly Regional Deal – Developing strong & effective community governance models

The Barkly Regional Deal is a 10 year, $78.4 million investment in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory by the Australian and Northern Territory governments and the Barkly Regional Council. The overarching objective of the Deal is to foster a prosperous, inclusive and resilient Barkly region, growing and developing its economic, social and supporting local Aboriginal leadership through 28 specific initiatives.

The Barkly Regional Deal has established a new community-based governance model to build local capacity and engagement. The Barkly Governance Table reflects the importance of local community involvement for the Deal’s long-term success and to ensure local priorities are addressed. It includes representation from Aboriginal leaders, local business leaders, Aboriginal organisations, non-government organisations, young people and all three levels of government. In addition, Working Groups provide a forum where any interested community members and stakeholders can provide feedback and recommendations about aspects of key Deal initiatives.

Co-design and collaboration with community stakeholders was central to the development of the Barkly Regional Deal. Community consultations across the Barkly region identified priorities and ensured that the Deal’s objectives reflected and addressed local needs. Since the establishment of the Deal, there has been ongoing engagement with communities and homelands across the Barkly region to ensure all Barkly residents have opportunity to participate in decision-making and benefit from the Deal.

This presentation will share the lessons learned, positive early outcomes and opportunities to adopt the Barkly governance model into other Australian regions.


Bridgette is General Manager for the Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet, having joined the Northern Territory Government in 2011 after 15 years’ service with the Australian Government.

Bridgette leads the Territory Regional Growth division and is responsible for the implementation of the NT Government’s Local Decision Making agenda and coordinating the NT Governments role in City and Regional Deals, which includes the Darwin City Deal and the Barkly Regional Deal.

Bridgette has previously held key roles across a number of NT Government and Commonwealth agencies, including responsibility for Regional Economic Development, Out-Station and Homeland Portfolios and the remote, rural and Indigenous programs for Centrelink managing the Northern Territory, Kimberley and the Anangu, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands areas.

Bridgette was born in the Territory, has lived and worked in many of its regional towns and now resides in Darwin.