In hegemonic economic theories, base activity, which taps into exogenous capital flows as exports, underpins endogenous activity within urban environments. Historically, urban development in the remote arid and semi-arid interior of Australia has occurred on the back of the exploitation of mineral resources. Major interior towns such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Mt Isa, and Kalgoorlie owe their existence to mining. However, the last attempt at creating urban development in association with mining occurred in Roxby Downs in the 1980s. However, the ABS Census Place off Work data shows that Roxby Downs has built comparatively little endogenous economic activity on the back of a substantial economic base of mining employment. While the rise of fly in fly out mining employment has been a factor in this, this paper argues that the major reason for the lack of endogenous activity has been poor planning and a lack of strategic investment into the Roxby Downs’ township from inception until today. This poor planning has meant the far northern region of South Australia has lost out on the social and economic benefits a major urban centre can bring. In addition, the residents of Roxby have been denied considerable economic, social and civic opportunities by design.