Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992)

Public Record Office Victoria
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Full description

Establishment of the Ministry of Transport

The Ministry of Transport was established by the Transport Act 1951 (No.5559) for the purpose of "securing the improvement, development and better co-ordination of railway, tramway, road and air transport in Victoria".

Administrative Arrangements 1951-1983

Initially a Co-ordinator of Transport was appointed as the Ministry's permanent head, and while the Ministry could consist of specially appointed officers, the Minister was also empowered to make use of the services of any officer, employed by either the public service or by one of the authorities responsible for transport functions.

The provision of transport services between 1951 and 1983 has been the responsibility of a number of authorities, including:

Victorian Railways (VA 2876) 1883-1983
Railway Construction Branch, Board of Land and Works (VA 690) 1892-1964
Railway Construction Board (VA 691) 1965-1980
Railway Construction and Property Board (VA 615) 1980-1983
Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority 1970-1983
Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (VA 2694) 1919-1983
Transport Regulation Board (VA 2738) 1933-1983
Country Roads Board (VA 722) 1913-1983
West Gate Bridge Authority 1966-1982
Road Traffic and Safety Authority (VA 487) 1971-1983.

Responsibility for co-ordinating road safety, traffic management, motor registration and driver licensing passed from the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services (VRG 73) to the Ministry of Transport in 1981.

Restructure of Transport Administration 1983

During 1982 and early 1983, the Ministry was restructured to enable it to operate as a corporate transport headquarters responsible for the performance of all Government transport activities, the better development of transport strategies and allocation of resources, the better co-ordination of loan-raising action, and the better management of existing finances.

The Transport Act 1983 (No.9921) which provided for these administrative changes also provided for a restructure of the transport authorities, creating four new authorities to replace the previous eight. From 1983 the Ministry therefore became responsible for the co-ordination, planning and resource management of transport services provided by:

State Transport Authority trading as V/Line (VA 1038) which succeeded Victorian Railways and the Railway Construction and Property Board.
Road Traffic Authority (VA 1036) which succeeded the Road Traffic and Safety Authority and the Transport Regulation Board.
Metropolitan Transit Authority (VA 1044) which succeeded the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board and the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority.
Road Construction Authority (VA 1054) which succeeded the Country Roads Board which itself now included the Westgate Bridge Authority.

The Ministry also became responsible for the provision of specialist property and other services to these authorities.

Ports and Harbours

Also in 1983 the Division of Ports and Harbours, which had previously operated in the Public Works Department (VA 669) was transferred to the Ministry of Transport. This Division was responsible for:

control of port navigation and port development
construction and maintenance of harbour and coastal works
maintenance of shipping channels
tidal surveys
foreshore protection
administration of Marine Board matters.

covering all the Victorian coastline except for those areas controlled by the Port of Melbourne (VA 1426), Port of Geelong (VA 1425) and Port of Portland Authorities VA 1427)

On 1 October 1986 the Ports and Harbours Division merged with Victoria's three Port Authorities. The Port of Melbourne Authority assumed responsibility for the administration and operation of ports along Victoria's eastern coast, including: Port of Western Port, Port of Anderson's Inlet, Port of Corner Inlet and Port Albert, Port of Gippsland Lakes, Port of Snowy River and Port of Mallacoota. In addition the Port of Melbourne Authority assumed responsibility for the maintenance and upgrading of navigational aids in all Victorian coastal waters, oil pollution control in all Victorian coastal waters, hydrographic surveying of Victorian ports and coastline, beach renourishment and the maintenance of recreational boating facilities along the eastern coast. The Port of Geelong Authority assumed responsibility for port and marine services along the coast from Cape Otway to the western side of Port Phillip Bay. The Port of Portland Authority assumed responsibility for the remainder of the western coast including Port Fairy and Warrnambool Harbour.

Further Restructuring 1989

Further alterations to transport legislation in 1989 under the Transport (Amendment) Act 1989 (No.44) reduced the number of authorities providing public transport services to two; the Roads Corporation (VA 2982) and the Public Transport Corporation (VA 2984). This legislation also gave the Director-General of Transport a formal role in overseeing and directing the operations of the two agencies, the predecessors of which had reported directly to the Minister for Transport.

Following significant machinery of government changes after the re-election of the Kennett Government in April 1996 the Department of Transport was abolished. Under Administrative Arrangements Order No.150 all functions of the Department were transferred to the Department of Infrastructure (VA 3971).

Location of Records

See List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.21.0.




Following significant machinery of government changes after the election of the first Kennett Government in October 1992, the Department of Transport was established by Administrative Arrangements Order No.114.


Previous Ministry of Transport (VA 673);

Ports and Transport Unit from the previous Department of Manufacturing and Industry Development (VA 3012).

The Department of Transport includes the Minister for Public Transport and the Minister for Roads and Ports and six agencies. The Department of Transport is responsible for formulating and monitoring general transport policies, planning strategies and allocating resources and monitoring the performance of all transport activities. The Transport authorities and agencies develop business plans, implement policy and carry out strategies, develop market services and conduct operations.

Public Transport Corporation
Roads Corporation

Marine Board of Victoria
Port of Geelong Authority
Port of Melbourne Authority
Port of Portland Authority
State Boating Council

141.000000,-34.000000 142.919336,-34.145604 144.582129,-35.659230 147.742627,-35.873175 150.024219,-37.529041 150.200000,-39.200000 141.000000,-39.200000 141.000000,-34.000000 141.000000,-34.000000


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