Meet our Council Members

Mayor Barden


Doug Barden

0429 875 390

I grew up in Fannie Bay before kerbs and guttering, and some roads still being dirt. East Point military museum and surrounds was my playground like what most of Litchfield is now. 

Born in the old Darwin hospital on Myilly Point, I lived mostly in Berry Springs since the early 1980s before there was electricity in the rural area. My family have owned and inherited property within the Territory which has been purchased since before the 1920s. 

I went to boarding school in Sydney, then returned to Darwin to complete my trade as a Diesel Mechanic and Fitter for Komatsu earthmoving equipment. I operated an earthmoving business until the 1990s when I built and operated the “Lakes Resort & Caravan Park”. I was first elected as the South Ward Councillor in late 2015.

As Mayor, I feel it is very important for the Councillors, community and staff to work as a team together. To achieve this, I feel strongly about listening and providing direction, while keeping in mind good governance, respect, integrity, and accountability. It is important for Council to keep within budget and continue to successfully apply for grants in order to improve our services and facilities. I am very proud of what I have achieved as a Councillor and am envious of what all previous Councils have achieved in its short 35-year history in order to make Litchfield the best place to live in the Top End.

Central Ward Councillor Harlan

Deputy Mayor

Kevin Harlan

0429 552 467

I have lived in the Northern Territory most of my life, Palmerston, Darwin, and remote Northern Territory before settling in Humpty Doo with my wife and two boys 15 years ago.  

We live in Humpty Doo and enjoy the beauty of our native plants and animals as well as the extra space which gives us our privacy while retaining the convenience of shops and services 15/20 mins up the road.  

I am a Plant Mechanic by trade, completing my apprenticeship early 1985 with an international earthmoving manufacture on Goyder Rd, Parap. Since then, I spent 20 years in the mining industry, worked over a year straight in Antarctica running a workshop for the Australian Antarctic Division. I also have a background in safety/training (taught trade school at both CDU and Taminmin College).  

And just to keep things interesting, growing up I did fencing on NT cattle stations, bull catching on the Barkley Tablelands, cook/barmaid at Heartbreak Hotel and eight years at boarding school. 

I put my hand up for Central Ward as the first step for me to try and change how and what our council does for us. I want our Elected Members to be more open, transparent, and accountable. 

I want to find efficiencies to reduce costs and minimise rate increases where possible. 
Our rural community can continue to be an active, supportive, and vibrant place to live, if we are all willing to contribute to and participate in maintaining it. 

Keep rural, rural. 

North Ward Councillor Wright

North Ward Councillor

Rachael Wright

0455 660 002

I have lived in Litchfield for over 20 years as a rate payer but have been in the Northern Territory much longer. I am part of the family that owns Lorella Springs cattle station, which today is a favourite out- back getaway for all Territorians and interstate visitors.

I am financially conservative, socially progressive, and environmentally responsible. 

With over 25 years’ experience as a Human Resources professional, in the private and public sector, I have strong ethical values and I genuinely care for the community and its best interests. 

I have elderly parents and young children that live in Litchfield, so I’m keen to see all demographics of our communities’ best interests represented. 

My commitment to the rural area is genuine and passionate. I am willing to be a strong voice for us all. 

I look forward to being a great asset to Council and our community. 

Central Ward Councillor Mackay

Central Ward Councillor

Andrew Mackay

0447 058 877

Ever since I first moved to Litchfield, I have loved everything about living rural. I attended both Girraween Primary School and Taminmin College and grew up fishing, camping and motorbike riding, all of which I still love (although getting weary of the time taken to heal after every crash!)

After heading down south to study a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in mathematics, I returned to the rural area and currently work full time as the Data Analyst (numbers guy) for a large primary producer in the Aquaculture industry located within Litchfield. I have previously worked in the forestry industry as a FIFO laboratory technician on the Tiwi Islands. I also sit in a volunteer role on the Executive Board for a not-for-profit youth organisation.

My primary focus for Council is ensuring good decisions are made by Council to keep Litchfield and the rural areas a great place to live with a focus on the community. I also have a strong interest in roaming dog management, empowering community groups, keeping spending in line with revenue and am committed to being approachable, transparent, and honest.

South Ward Councillor Sharp

South Ward Councillor

Emma Sharp

0429 270 227

I arrived in the Top End eight years ago for what was supposed to be a short-term visit. However, I met my now husband after a few weeks in Darwin, decided to stay on a bit longer, and I’m happy to say I have no intention of leaving this place. 

We started planning our lives together; got hitched, picked a rural block in Litchfield to build on, and by 2017, us two became three with the birth of our son – very much a ‘bush kid’. 

Since 2005, I have worked predominantly in the health sector, both in the UK NHS, and NT Health. I progressed ‘up the chain’ from administration and secretarial roles, and took a jump into the ICT world, where I have been managing ICT projects in the public health sector now, for over 10 years. 

I believe a councillor should act as a strong advocate, which is a passion I have developed over the past five years in my personal projects. My main focus for my tenure on Council is to be the conduit between local government and the rural people to help promote, sustain, and enjoy the rural lifestyle.

North Ward Councillor Salter

North Ward Councillor

Mathew Salter

0408 093 838

In 1999, my wife and I moved to Howard Springs for the relaxed rural lifestyle, and because our family was growing.

I was a teacher at Kormilda College, and I am passionate about indigenous education. My love of English led me to reciting poetry at the Friends of Taminmin Library, poetry lunch which I have attended for many years.

I am a keen sportsperson, coaching both my son’s soccer and cricket teams, with the focus on sportsmanship and participation. I was soon playing Sunday afternoon cricket which I still enjoy today.

Gerry Wood has been a big influence and encouraged me to run for council in when the Inpex Workers Village was being built at the end of my street. 

I joined the Freds Pass Board in 2012, and I am proud to have helped with the Freds Pass Masterplan.

I believe in maintaining our rural lifestyle, which means living within our means, getting good value for money, but importantly, listening to our community. 

Five acres gives you room for chooks, a horse, a couple of dogs and a vegie patch. I am passionate about retaining our unique lifestyle and want to keep rural, rural. 

South Ward Councillor Sidey

South Ward Councillor

Mark Sidey

0407 007 558

I first visited Litchfield Municipality in 2011 and relocated permanently to Darwin River in 2016 where I now live with my wife.  

My wife and I have two adult daughters who, after growing up in Darwin River are now following their own dreams.

I have over 10 years-experience working in senior local government roles in Queensland and the Northern Territory including Chief Executive Officer and Council Service Manager.  I have a proven track record of stakeholder engagement, relationship development and advocacy over many years and have developed positive relationships with Territory & Federal MLAs, NTG departments and other councils.

In addition to my local government roles, I have a degree in Business and have worked as an Insurance Loss Adjuster since 1999.  I currently own my own business, working as a contractor to a number of Insurers.

I was elected to Litchfield Council as a Councillor for South Ward in 2022 on a platform of greater transparency, more consultation with constituents and re-focusing Council’s direction back to providing core services at the lowest possible cost.  I am passionate about the community and am a great believer in “keeping rural rural”.

Role of members

The role of a member of a council is:

  • to represent the interests of all residents and ratepayers of the council area; and
  • to provide leadership and guidance; and
  • to facilitate communication between the member of the council's constituency and the council; and
  • to participate in the deliberations of the council and its community activities; and
  • to ensure, as far as practicable, that the council acts honestly, efficiently and appropriately in carrying out its statutory responsibilities.

However, a member of the council has no power to direct or control staff, or to interfere with the management of staff.

A member of the council has a duty to act, at all times, in what the members genuinely believes to be the best interests of the council's constituency.

Pursuant to Section 59 of the Local Government Act 2019, the role of the Mayor, or in their absence.

Role, Appointment and Term of Deputy Mayor


The Council is made up of seven Elected Members one of whom is the Mayor. They represent the residents from Litchfield's three electoral wards, Central, North and South. All are elected by the people during a general election held every four years.

Role of Principal Member (Mayor)

The role of the Principal Member of a council is:

  • To chair meetings of Council; and
  • To speak on behalf of Council as Council’s principal representative; and 
  • To liaise with the CEO about the performance of the Council’s CEO’s functions; and
  • To promote behaviour among the members of the Council that meets the standards set out in the code of conduct; and
  • To lead the Council to undertake regular review of the performance of the CEO.

Role of Deputy Principal (Mayor)

The role of the Deputy Mayor is in the absence of the Principal (Mayor) to:

  • As per the Act, the deputy mayor is to carry out any of the Mayor’s functions when the Mayor either delegates the functions to the deputy or is absent from official duties because of illness or for some other reason. 

Role of Councillors

  • To represent the interests of all residents and ratepayers of Litchfield Council;
  • To provide leadership and guidance; and
  • To facilitate communication between the members of the Council’s constituency and the Council; and
  • To be properly informed to enable participation in the deliberations of the Council and its community activities; and
  • To ensure, as far as practicable, that Council acts honestly, efficiently, and appropriately in carrying out its statutory responsibilities; and
  • To ensure that Council resources are used prudently and solely in the public interest; and
  • To actively monitor the financial affair of the Council.


Register of Elected Members

Register of Elected Member Information »

Code of Conduct

Under Sections 119 and Schedule 1 of the Local Government Act 2019, Elected Members of Council will be committed to conducting themselves in a way that demonstrates the highest ethical.

Code of Conduct for Elected Members »

From 1 July 2021, a person who believes that a council member has breached a council’s Code of Conduct may lodge a complaint with the Chief Executive Officer.

To lodge a complaint that a council member has breached the Code of Conduct, you must complete the approved complaint form and statutory declaration (below) verifying the allegations of fact made against the council member. A complaint must be made within 3 months after the date of the alleged breach.

Breach of Code of Conduct complaint form »


Pursuant to Part 7.2 Interests of the Local Government Act 2019, the following registers are required to be kept and maintained by the Chief Executive Officer and published on the Council website.

Annual Returns of Interest Register

An Annual return of interest is any interest a Council Member may have as specified by the Local Government (General) Regulations 2021.

Annual Returns of Interest Register »

Gifts and Benefits Register

Gifts and benefits are gifts Council Members may receive in the course of their duties as per Council’s policy EM07 CEO and Council Member Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality.

Gifts and Benefits Register »

Disclosure of Interest Register

A conflict of interest occurs when a Council Members personal interests could compromise their judgement or decisions in the course of their duties. Council Members are required to disclose their interest as per Section 115 of the Local Government Act 2019.

Disclosure of Interest Register »


In accordance with Section 106 of the Local Government Act 2019, Council Members allowances are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

On 24 January 2023, the Tribunal made the following determination; 

Report and Determination No. 1 of 2023 - Allowances for Members of Local Government Councils »

The below table illustrates the Council Member allowances.

Allowance TypeCouncillorDeputy MayorMayor
Annual Allowance$22,000$38,000$105,000
Extra Meeting Allowance$10,000$10,000    -
Annual Professional Allowance$4,000$4,000$4,000
Total Maximum Claimable$36,000$52,000$109,000

The annual allowance covers those activities required of a Council member in the performance of his or her role as an elected representative. Without limiting the generality of the preceding sentence, the allowance covers:

  1. agenda study and meeting preparation;
  2. attendance at regular Council and committee meetings;
  3. attendance at social functions as a Council representative;
  4. constituency responsibilities; and
  5. Council representation outside the Municipality area, including delegations interstate and overseas, unless such representation has extra meeting approval.

Extra Meeting Allowance shall be paid in accordance with the Tribunal's Determination and Council Policy. 

Professional Development Allowance is payable to Council Members to attend approved conferences and training courses which sustain a member’s professional competence and able to comply with professional standards applicable to their role as a member of council.