Place Names Committee

The Committee

The Committee consists of four members. Two members are directly appointed by the Minister with one appointed as the Chairperson. A third member is appointed by the Minister from three persons nominated by the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory. The Surveyor-General is the fourth member of the Committee.

The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics provides administrative support to the Committee through the Place Names Unit.

Members of the current Committee, whose term concludes on 2 April 2021, are:

Chairperson Samantha Wells  
Member Ronald Plummer Nominee of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
Member Katrina Fong Lim  
Surveyor-General Robert Sarib (ex-officio as Surveyor-General)

Committee meeting dates

Legislation summary

Although places were named by explorers and recorded by Government since the commencement of European exploration of Australia, the Northern Territory did not have an Act or Ordinance of Parliament until 1945 when the Nomenclature (Public Places) Ordinance was enacted.

In 1966, the 1945 Ordinance was amended to allow the Administrator of the Northern Territory instead of the federal Minister to name places in the Northern Territory.

In 1967, the 1945 and 1966 Ordinances were repealed and a new ordinance enacted. The Place Names Ordinance 1967 changed the composition and operation of the Place Names Committee for the Northern Territory.

In 1973, the 1967 Ordinance was amended, changing the definition of a public place and the ability of the Committee to recommend the altering the name of a public place.

Following Self Government in 1978, in 1980 the Place Names Act was passed by the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and commenced following the ascent of the Administrator. This Act repealed previous Nomenclature (Public Places) Ordinances and was basically the same as the previous Ordinance.

In 1983, the 1980 Act was amended with changes to the definition of public place and allow the Minister to approve a place name, instead of the Administrator in Council and changed the composition of the Committee to include a representative of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory instead of a local member.

In late 2004, the Legislative Assembly passed the Place Names Amendment Act which removed the definition of a "public place" and replaced it with a definition of a "place"; allowed for the Minister to delegate the power to approve the naming of a place; required the Committee to create a publicly accessible Register of place names; and removed the requirement to publish in a place name in the gazette. These amendments commenced in July 2005.

The current Place Names Act (with amendments) is available online.