The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) was established in December 2002 following the re-election of the Bracks Labor Government. Under Administrative Arrangements Order No. 182 (Victorian Government Gazette S 231), the department was created with the abolition of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (VA 3972) and the establishment of both DPI and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (VA 4554) under the Public Sector Management and Employment Act 1998.
The Department of Primary Industries became responsible for many of the functions of primary production formerly the responsibility of DNRE. Its major functions were:
- farming and agriculture
- fishing and aquaculture
- minerals and petroleum
- science and research; and
- trade and investment.
At its establishment, DPI reported to the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Resources.
Following the November 2006 state election, an Energy and Minerals Resource Division was established within DPI, under Administrative Arrangements Order No. 192 (Victorian Government Gazette S 317). This was made up of the Energy Technology and Innovation Strategy (ETIS), formerly part of the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (VA 4564); the Energy and Security Division from the Department of Infrastructure (VA 3971); and the existing Minerals and Petroleum Division within DPI.
After the 2006 election, the major functions carried out by DPI were: farming and agriculture, energy, minerals and petroleum, fishing and aquaculture, science, research and development, and trade and investment.
DPI reported to the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Energy and Resources.
On 9 April 2013 DPI was effectively abolished, its functions (with the exception of energy and resources) having been transferred to the new Department of Environment and Primary Industries (VA 5002) by order of the Governor-in-Council under section 10 (c) of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Victorian Government Gazette, S 124). This was part of machinery-of-government changes made by the Coalition Government under the new leadership of Premier the Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP. The energy and resources portfolio and functions were transferred to the new Department of State Development, Business and Innovation (VA 5001).