|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Following significant machinery of government changes after the election of the first Kennett Government in October 1992, the Department of Justice was established. Under Administrative Arrangements Order No.114 the Department assumed responsibility for all functions of the Attorney-General's Department (VA 2825), the Office of the Victorian Government Solicitor (VA 667), the Office of the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity (VA 1830), the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services (VA 421), the Office of Corrections (VA 1063), the previous Ministry of Consumer Affairs (VA 1026) (renamed Office of Fair Trading) except Trade and Measurement Branch and Shop Trading and Liquor Licensing Commission (VA 2869), the Women's Policy Coordination Unit and Office of the Solicitor-General from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039); and the State Trust Corporation of Victoria.
Department of Justice
The Department of Justice is one of the thirteen Government Departments established by the Government of Victorian in October 1992. The Department of Justice and its Secretary are responsible to two Government Ministers: The Hon. Patrick McNamara MP (Deputy Premier), who is Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrections, and the Hon. Jan Wade MP, who is the Attorney-General, Minister for Fair Trading and Minister for Women's Affairs.
The Department of Justice is the focus of the Justice portfolio which brings together all Government activities concerned with the reform, administration and enforcement of the law in Victoria, including all police and prosecution functions, administration of the Court system, provision of the prison system, administration of various tribunals established to protect citizens' rights, provision of emergency services, drafting of legislation, and provision of legal advice to Government.
The portfolio has a total staff of approximately 19,600 and a budget for the 1992/93 financial year of A$1.015 billion. (these figures include the State's Police Force and Fire Brigade and emergency services personnel). The portfolio's principal functional areas include:
Victoria Police - an 11,000 strong force responsible for the preservation of peace, the protection of life and property, and the prevention and detection of crime.
Fire and Emergency Services - responsible for the prevention and suppression of fires in metropolitan and country areas, and for providing services and training for natural disaster, emergency rescue, and civil defence activities. These services comprise 3,100 permanent staff and approximately 82,000 volunteers.
Correctional Services - responsible for operating the adult corrections system, consisting of 14 prisons and 25 Community Based Corrections Centres which supervise offenders undertaking community based orders or parole.
Police and Emergency Services Directorate - responsible for the co-ordination of policies and programs to maintain law and order and prevent and minimise the effects of fire and other emergencies.
Courts and Tribunal Services - responsible for the administration of the court system (comprising Supreme, County, Magistrates', Coroner's and Children's Courts) and tribunals (including Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Information Registries - (comprising the Land Titles Office and the Registry for Births, Deaths and Marriages) - responsible for providing registration and information services regarding land dealings and ownership and births, deaths and marriages in Victoria.
Legislation Advice and Policy - responsible for the provision of advice on law reform, legislative program and associated legal policy.
Chief Parliamentary Counsel - responsible for drafting of legislation.
Victorian Government Solicitor's Office - responsible for provision of legal advice to the Government and its agencies.
Fair Trading and Business Affairs Division - responsible for maintaining an effective framework for Fair Trading in Victoria and for providing an effective business licensing and registration function.
Corporate Resources Division - Management and administrative support is provided to the Department by the Division. It provides management oversight, strategic guidance, general policy formulation, and a central administrative framework for the control, maintenance and support of the Department's other programs.
Office of Women's Affairs
As a function of government, women's affairs appears to have evolved within the Premier's portfolio out of the promotion of equal opportunity under the Equal Opportunity Act 1977.
Until 1992 the Premier was responsible, through the Co-ordinator of Women's Affairs (see Department of the Premier VA 2717) and it's successor the Women's Policy Co-ordination Unit (see Department of the Premier and Cabinet VA 1039), for:
provision of policy advice to the Premier on issues affecting the status of women
monitoring and reviewing policies and programs which impact on women
co-ordinating and monitoring the activities of agencies with the view to improve the status of women
assisting agencies to enhance service delivery to women
co-ordinating Victoria's responses to committees and inter-national agencies on women's issues
representation of Victoria on Commonwealth-State committees
annual Women's Budget report
register of women interested in appointment to government boards and committees
liaison with non-government organisations providing services to women.
As part of machinery of government changes introduced in October 1992 the Women's Policy Co-ordination Unit was transferred to the Department of Justice and these functions are currently the responsibility of the Office of Women's Affairs.
Community Council Against Violence
The Community Council Against Violence was established in 1989 to provide advice to Government about violence in the community. The Council was reconstituted and relaunched by the Attorney-General in 1993 with agreement from Cabinet. The Council currently includes three task forces: the Victims' Task Force; the Violence Against Women Task Force and the Community Safety Task Force.
Functions of the Community Council Against Violence include:
informing the Government about community concerns relating to violence
producing and disseminating accurate information about violence in the community
developing and supporting strategies which will foster a reduction in community violence.
From 1989 to 1991 the Council was the responsibility of the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services (VA 421). As part of machinery of government changes announced in January 1991 responsibility transferred to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039) until 1992 when the Department of Justice assumed responsibility.