Abstract: Distance from markets and from the mental maps of urban-centric policy-makers means that small, remote settlements do generate economic practices locally. This paper draws on two case studies to argue that remote sustainability requires an emphasis on the local economy (the settlement and multi-settlement region), and that long-term strategies held at the local level by locals are most favourable to both economic and social life. While some settlements are clearly better positioned in terms of natural resources and opportunities, all settlements need access to supportive policy and infrastructure at national and regional levels. The paper argues that current economic policy facilitates national prosperity to the detriment of local economies. It points to the necessity for desert regions, of developing an internal economic agenda held by a local agency, in ways that bring both Aboriginal and settler cultures into economic expression.