The Desert Peoples Centre is a joint venture between Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education and Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT).  The Centre for Appropriate Technology is Australia's national Indigenous science and technology organization operating since 1980.  Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education is Australia's largest Indigenous tertiary institution providing training and education to Indigenous people for over 40 years.  Both of these organisations are Registered Training Organisations and have focussed their activities particularly on remote and disadvantaged Indigenous communities.

The concept of a Desert Peoples Centre has been an aspiration of many Aboriginal leaders and education visionaries for 15 years.  The rationale behind the establishment as a joint venture is that a systematic and coordinated approach to Indigenous education and training is necessary to foster a framework for the future cultural, social and economic development of Indigenous peoples and communities.  It is a catalyst for change: an opportunity to create new, dynamic and productive learning environments for desert peoples,  not only on campus but in communities. 

At the heart of the Desert Peoples initiative is desert people.  It seeks to be a catalyst for change around delivery of educational and other services to desert people and other services to desert peoples and how they will affect livelihood outcomes.