Department of Industrial Development (1963-1965) / Department of Decentralization and Development (1965-1978) / Department of Decentralisation (1978-1980)

State Records Authority of New South Wales
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The Department of Industrial Development was created on 1 February 1963 when the Treasury’s Division of Industrial Development became a new department. It was initially a sub-Department of Treasury. (1) In April 1963 the new Department moved into new premises enabling it to operate as a self-contained unit. (2)

The role of the department was to implement the Government's policy on industrial development and decentralisation. This concerned the encouragement of decentralisation, particular into areas of high unemployment. The Department also collected and distributed information for the co-ordination of negotiations with government authorities. It managed a Decentralisation Fund to assist the establishment and expansion of industries in country centres. The Fund was used to assist with the costs of freight, water and fuel, for the construction of industrial infrastructure and housing for personnel. (3) During the first year of operation the Department organised a conference for Regional Development Committees in Orange in September 1962 and improved the range and quality of Departmental publications for local and overseas markets. (4) There was considerable emphasis upon encouraging overseas investment and the establishment of overseas industries in New South Wales. The Government's Offices in London and New York assisted the Department by providing information to industries in their respective countries, and the Department's specialist research personnel undertook overseas tours to promote New South Wales as a location for industrial activity. Within the State existing organisations were utilised to disseminate information about decentralisation. Studies were undertaken in various centres to determine which areas could be suitably based there. (5)

On 13 May 1965 the Department ceased to be a sub-department of Treasury and was re-named the Department of Decentralisation and Development following the appointment of a Minister with that portfolio. (6)

During the years 1967 to 1969 trade, engineering and investment missions visited North America, Southeast Asia and some African countries and contact was made with a number of companies who had expressed interest in investment in Australia. As a result of this strong overseas interest the NSW Trade and Investment Promotion Committee was formed under Chairmanship of the Minister for Decentralization and Development to arrange and sponsor overseas visits. (7)

The Regional Organisation Act, 1972 (Act No.38, 1972) was administered by the Department of Decentralisation and Development and provided for the division of New South Wales into regional or districts for the purpose of stimulating regional development. The Act provided for the establishment of Advisory Councils. (8) The role of the Councils was to encourage and stimulate social and economic development of the region or district and to recommend means of achieving the development. (9)

On 31 March 1976 the Small Business Agency was established as a branch of the Department taking responsibility for the provision of information and management advice to those engaged in, or desirous of commencing a small business. There were many demands on the services of the Agency, especially from country areas, during its first year of its existence. (10)

In 1977 the main functions of the Department were to provide:
(a) Assistance to persons wishing to start a business or those operating small businesses;
(b) Encouragement of the social and economic development of the State's 10 regions;
(c) Provision of financial incentives for the establishment or expansion of eligible industries within the State's defined decentralised areas;
(d) Administration of the Country Industries 5% Preference System;
(e) Administration of the Country Industries Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme;
(f) Assistance to industrialists on the availability and price of industrial land and premises from government and private sources. (11)

At this time the major branches of the Department were as follows: Industries Development Branch; Co-ordination Branch; Regional Development Branch: Regional Industries Section; Finance Section; Land and Sites Section; and Publicity Section. The Industries Development branch consisted of the Industries Research and Overseas Promotion Section and the Small Business agency. The State Co-ordination Branch consisted of the State Development Co-ordinating Committee and ten Regional Advisory Councils. (12)

On 19 October 1978 the Department was re-established as the Department of Decentralisation. The Department assumed responsibility for decentralisation and associated development activities in non-metropolitan areas and growth centres administration. The functions associated with development were transferred to the new Ministerial portfolio of Mineral Resources and Development. (13) This administrative change was retrospectively proclaimed in the NSW Government Gazette of 4 January 1980. (14)

The Regional Organisation Act, 1972 was repealed by the Regional Organization (Repeal) Act, 1979 (Act No.36, 1979). The ten Regional Councils were disbanded and replaced by nine Decentralisation Advisory Councils and the Hunter Development Board. (15)

On 14 March 1980 the Development Division of the Department of Mineral Resources and Development and the Department of Decentralisation joined to form the Department of Industrial Development and Decentralisation. (16)

(1) NSW Public Service Board Notices, 23 January 1963, p.3.
(2) Public Service Board report for the year ended 30 June 1963, p.47.
(3) Official Yearbook of New South Wales, 1964, p.550.
(4) Public Service Board Report 1963. Op. Cit.
(5) Public Service Board report for the year ended 30 June 1964, pp.48-49.
(6) Public Service Board report for the year ended 30 June 1965, p.43.
(7) Report of the Public Service Board for 1967/68, A.R. 1968/69, v.5, p.542, Report of the Public Service Board for 1968/69, A.R. 1969/70/71, v.7, p.1136.
(8) Regional Organisation Act 1972 s.5.
(9) Ibid. s.25.
(10) Report of the Public Service Board for 1975/76, A.R. 1976/77/78, v.10, p.833.
(11) The Government of NSW, Directory of Administration and Services 1977/78, p.95.
(12) Ibid., pp.95-98.
(13) Report of the Public Service Board for 1978/79, A.R. 1979/80, v.6, p.834.
(14) NSW Government Gazette, 4 January 1980 p. 60.
(15) New South Wales Public Service Board, Annual Report, 1978-79, p.98.
(16) NSW Government Directory of Administration and Service, Third Edition 1982, p.199; Department of Industrial Development and Decentralisation report for the year ended 30 June 1986, p.9.

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