How places are named
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Who makes place naming decisions
The Place Names Committee makes recommendations to the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics for the naming, or altering of names of places in the Northern Territory (NT).
The Minister is responsible for approving new names and changes to existing ‘registered’ names under the Place Names Act 1967.
Once the Minister approves a name and it is included in the Place Names Register, it is known as a ‘registered’ name.
Get a printable copy of the place naming process .
Find out more about committee membership and meetings.
Types of places that can be named
Under the Place Names Act 1967 the following types of places can be named:
- a geographic or topographic feature (whether or not covered by water)
- a county, hundred, town, community, suburb or locality within a town or a site for a town
- a highway, road, street, lane, trail or thoroughfare that is open to or used by the public
- a park, garden, reserve, recreation or sporting ground that is open to or used by the public
- a public cemetery within the meaning of the Cemeteries Act 1952
- public infrastructure associated with transport facilities, medical institutions or nursing homes
- a place, structure or building that is or may be of public or historic interest.
Generally a place name will have two parts, a unique identifying name (sometimes called a specific term) and a generic term that describes the type of place.
Naming under other laws
There are some types of namings that do not occur under the Place Names Act 1967. These include:
- the naming of schools under the Education Act 2015
- the naming of electoral divisions under the Electoral Act 2004
- the naming of local government areas and wards under the Local Government Act 2008
- The naming of parks and reserves under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1976
- the naming of places where Australian government legislation applies and has overriding application - eg Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and Native Title Act 1993.
Request a place name
Any individual or organisation can request a name for a place, or a change to a name for a place.
Members of the community are encouraged to participate in the place naming process to ensure that the diversity of the community is reflected in future place name approvals.
Step 1. Contact the department
If you are interested in naming or renaming a place you should contact the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
The department will provide advice on what is needed and help develop a consultation plan. Requirements will depend on the type of place name.
The department will check that the name meets national standards and NT place names guidelines.
The requirements for each request differ slightly, depending on:
- the type of naming request
- where the place to be named is located
- who owns, or will own, or manages the place.
Types of requests
There are a number of different types of naming requests that occur under the Place Names Act 1967.
Each have slightly different consultation requirements.
These include requests to name or rename the following:
You can also request to include a deceased person’s name in the Reserve List for commemoration through a future naming opportunity. Find out how to nominate a person for commemoration.
Step 2. Consultation
The Place Names Act 1967 sets out specific minimum consultation requirements that must be met before the Committee can recommend a name to the Minister for approval.
This includes a requirement to consult with ‘interested parties’ (including but not limited to):
- the local government council where a name request is for a place in its area of governance
- the relevant Land Council if a name request is for a place outside a local government area
- the family or descendants of a person proposed to be commemorated through the naming of a place or included in the Reserve List for a future naming opportunity.
The person or organisation who wants to request a name is responsible for undertaking consultation. All ‘interested parties’ identified in the consultation plan must be consulted. Written evidence of consultation must be submitted to the Committee when you submit your request
Step 3. Submit your request
You must submit your request and all supporting consultation documentation through Place Names Online.
An account must be set up to submit a request so that you can be contacted during the assessment process and receive updates on the status and progress of your request.
If you submit an incomplete request the Department will contact you to tell you what additional information is needed.
Your request will not be considered by the committee until it is complete.
How requests are processed
The committee will consider complete requests at its next available meeting.
Meetings of the committee are scheduled four times a year but the committee also meets outside of the scheduled meetings to consider requests as needed.
Check the committee meeting dates.
The committee will make a recommendation to the Minister.
The Place Names Act 1967 does not specify or limit what the Committee can consider other than to set minimum consultation requirements for particular circumstances.
The Place Names Committee also refers to:
- NT place naming guidelines - published by the Committee from time to time
- discriminatory or derogatory place names policy - published by the Committee from time to time
- rural and urban addressing standard - published by Standards Australia
- principles for the consistent use of place names - published by the Permanent Committee on Place Names.
If a request is approved
If the Minister approves a place name it will be included in the NT Place Names Register.
Once the name is registered, mapping companies and other people are able to use the name.
Signage is the responsibility of the local council or equivalent for that area.
Place names for geographic features are entered into a National Register.