Tennant Creek had a town council form of government headed by a mayor. The main Aboriginal body within the town is the Julalikari Council which plays a major role in providing training and employment services for the Aboriginal people in Tennant Creek. It has developed a construction capacity and provides contract services to the Town Council such as recycling. The Julalikari Council also provides community services within the township such as Homemakers, aged care, and the night patrol.
Tennant Creek became part of the Barkly Shire Council on July 1, 2008.
The police district covers almost 22,000 square kilometres and has a strength of 25 officers. The force includes two Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) officers.
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