|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Department of Business and Employment was established in October 1992 following significant machinery of government changes encompassed by Administrative Arrangements Order (No.114) 1992. The Department was formed from an amalgamation of the Department of Labour II (VA 2777), the Department of Manufacturing and Industry Development (VA 3012), the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (VA 3134), the Department of Small Business (VA 3011), the Office of Employment from the Ministry of Employment, Post Secondary Education and Training (VA 3034), and parts of both the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (VA 1026) and the Ministry of Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs (VA 3015).
This agency includes the following agencies and responsibilities:
Trade Measurement Branch and Shop Trading and Liquor Licensing Commission (VA 2869) from the previous Ministry of Consumer Affairs (VA 1026);
Office of Youth Affairs from the previous Ministry of Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs (VA 3015);
Latrobe Regional Commission (VA 2631);
the following functions from the previous Department of Manufacturing and Industry Development (VA 3012):
financial management and evaluation group, industry division, major project facilitation group and the development project unit of the Economic Development division, Manufacturing Council of Victoria, Office of Trade and Investment (except the Office of the Agent-General, London and Victorian Overseas Offices) and Corporate Services Division;
Safer Chemicals Storage Taskforce Secretariat;
Food Secretariat from the previous Department of Food and Agriculture (VA 2649).
The mission of the Department of Business and Employment is to promote the economic development of Victoria.
The goals of the Department are:
promote an efficient labour market in Victoria;
promote an employee relations system which facilitates the freedom of employers and employees to choose how they regulate their own affairs;
assist industry to become internationally competitive;
promote world standard performance by Victoria's public sector agencies;
promote regional economic development;
facilitate investment and exports; and
efficiently manage the Department's resources of funds and people.
Employee Relations and Employment
Office of Employment
The functions of the Office of Employment are to:
analyse and forecast employment trends and advise and assist in the development and implementation of employment policies;
manage labour market programs focussed on disadvantaged groups, including career counselling and placement services; and
advise on employment policies, particularly in respect to those industries which provide opportunities for employment expansion.
Employee Relations Commission of Victoria
The Employee Relations Commission of Victoria (ERCV) was established under the Employee Relations Act 1992. It has certain powers to determine industrial matters referred to it and hear certain appeals.
Office of Trade and Investment
The Office of Trade and Investment has a major role to play in developing trade between Victorian businesses and the rest of the world, promoting Victoria in international trade and investment circles and attracting investments to Victoria.
The Office of Trade provides a single point of contact for overseas investors and export inquirers in dealing with the Victorian State Government. Services include:
Investment Promotion and Facilitation: Victoria's strength as an investment destination is actively promoted through programs to raise Melbourne/ Victoria's profile in the international business community. OTI identifies potential inwards investment by targeting key prospects around the world through its overseas offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt and Los Angeles. A range of facilitation services is provided to assist investors to enter the Victorian market;
Strategic Partnering Service: This service matches Victorian companies seeking business opportunities with overseas companies with complementary interests and assists accelerated business development and export exposure; and
Market Entry Programs: To introduce Victorian companies to markets in Asia, Europe and the USA, OTI conducts market entry programs and export advisory services through its five overseas officers.
Industry and Regional Development
Business and Industry Policy
The Units major responsibilities are the provision of advice on economic trends, strategy issues and policies, broader industry and technology policy matters.
Engineering and Science Based Industries
This Unit is responsible for a wide range of industry based projects and infrastructure support - from engineering and TCF to food processing and traded services. Projects operate in the established and emerging growth sectors. Most of the assistance aims to expand exports and is directed to specific companies in the targeted sectors. The Unit also assists in the development of new products, supports participation in quality development programs and publishes Link magazines.
Government Supply Support Agency
The agency works to modernise and rationalise the Government's Supply function, to give improved performance and cost savings and to use purchasing power as an aid to industry. The agency administers government purchasing policies which are designed to maximise the use of Victorian and Australian goods and services.
The GSSA also administers the Government Offsets Scheme, which allows competitive local industries to participate in State and Federal Government contracts that have a significant imported content.
Consistent with these policies the GSSA includes a Defence Projects Section, which plans the involvement of Victorian Industry in defence related contacts and is also responsible for developing Victoria's aerospace industry.
As well, the GSSA develops and maintains industry and other directories to make local manufacturers more accessible to potential customers.
Major Industrial Project Facilitation
This Group provides a focus throughout the Department for the facilitation of projects. The Department has responsibility for all industries except agriculture, tourism, finance and general government. The problems facing the establishment of industries in dealing with Government approval processes, coordination of the provision of infrastructure and other issues are common to all industries. Project Facilitation, with its multi-disciplined staff and broad experience with a wide range of industries, aims to assist industries and projects in their establishment in Victoria as quickly as possible. This is achieved by facilitating projects through any required approval process and co-ordinating the provision of services and infrastructure.
Office of Regional Development (ORD)
ORD is responsible for delivering the Government's Regional Development Program which has two major themes for stimulating economic growth in regional centres:
enhanced support for existing industry in regional Victoria; and
initiatives for attracting new investment to provincial centres.
Office of Regional Development is also a major deliverer of other State and Commonwealth Government industry assistance programs throughout the State, particularly the National Industry Extension Service (NIES) Enterprise Improvement Programs.
The primary objectives of ORD are to encourage and assist Victorian firms become internationally competitive and to attract and assist investment in economically desirable projects, principally in regional Victoria.
Access to these and other general business information, advice and referral services is available from a network of strategically located regional offices in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.
ORD also has responsibility for Rural Enterprise Victoria (REV) which supports local enterprise development in small country towns of Victoria, and the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme NEIS which assists unemployed people establish a small business.
REV is managing agent for NEIS in Victoria.
Victorian WorkCover Authority
The Victorian WorkCover Authority was established on 1 December 1992.
The objectives of the Authority are to:
manage the accident compensation scheme as effectively and efficiently and economically as is possible;
administer the Accident Compensation Act, the Workers Compensation Act 1958 and any other relevant Act;
assist employers and workers in achieving healthy and safe working environments;
promote the effective rehabilitation of injured workers and their early return to work;
encourage the provision of suitable employment opportunities to workers who have been injured;
ensure that appropriate compensation is paid to injured workers in the most socially and economically appropriate manner and as expeditiously as possible; and
develop such internal management structures and procedures as will enable the Authority to perform its functions and exercise its powers effectively, efficiently and economically.
The Victorian WorkCover Authority is the regulatory body for the Accident Compensation Act 1985 and is responsible for funds management and management of authorised insurers involved in the:
provision of compensation benefits to workers incapacitated due to work injuries, and the support of their return to work as soon as possible; and
collection of premiums from employers.
The WorkCare Appeals Board was abolished as of 1 December and the role of dispute resolution has been given to the WorkCover Conciliation Service.
Industry Services is responsible for industrial compliance and information services; occupational health and safety including the Safer Chemical Storage Taskforce (see below) and a number of Statutory Authorities. There is also a network of regional offices.
Chemical and Plant Safety Division
This Division provides specialist advice and information services in relation to Plant, Dangerous Goods, Chemicals and Occupational Hygiene Services. It also provides emergency responses to incidents involving Dangerous Goods.
Health and Safety Division
This Division provides strategic direction for targeted prevention activities, develops legislation and standards within the agreed National Framework and delivers information licensing and certification enforcement and advisory services.
Industrial Compliance and Information Division
This Division provides an industrial information service through Wageline to employers and employees covering their rights, entitlements and obligations under Employment Agreements, State Awards and associated legislation. It also provides an enforcement mechanism to ensure maximum compliance with Victoria's Industrial Legislation and delivers services through the Youth Industrial Section to young people.
Relocation of Coode Island Chemical Storage
A hazardous chemicals secretariat was established circa July 1990 to conduct a comprehensive review and inquiry into the chemical industry in the State. Following a chemical fire on Coode Island on 21 August 1991 a Coode Island Review Panel was established, with an independent secretariat, to look at short term safety measures and to report on the long term storage of bulk liquid hazardous chemicals in Victoria.
The Safer Chemicals Storage Taskforce was established as an associated administrative unit of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039) following recommendations contained in the Final Report of the Review Panel. The Taskforce was responsible for the coordination, monitoring and reporting of progress on the implementation of recommendations in the Final Report, as well as actually implementing about half of the recommendations. The core recommendation was the development of a new bulk liquid storage terminal for hazardous chemicals at West Point Wilson near Geelong. The first meeting of the Taskforce took place in May 1992.
As part of machinery of government changes introduced in October 1992 the Department assumed responsibility for the Taskforce.
The Taskforce was disbanded at the beginning of December 1993 and the West Point Wilson Project is currently being established to look at bringing the sector into the relocation of the chemical storage facility. The Project team had not held its first consultative meeting as at 11 January
Office of Small Business and Youth Affairs
The Department of Small Business was created on 17 January 1991. It, together with the Small Business Development Corporation, is responsible for supporting and strengthening policy, including regulation reform, to ensure integrated and effective support for small business in Victoria.
Small Business Development Corporation (VA 1108)
The Corporation was established under the Small Business Development Corporation Act 1976. The primary role is to assist the development and growth of small/medium business in Victoria. The Corporation offers a range of services through its statewide network of Regional Offices.
This Branch carries out the central administration functions under the Weights and Measures Act 1958 (with the exception of Section 53B). Its overall responsibility is to ensure accurate measurement of physical quantity in trading transactions.
Office of Youth Affairs
This Office is involved in policy development and analysis of youth issues; youth service development through the provision of subsidies and grants; implementation of youth homelessness policy and other special projects.
Liquor Licensing Commission (VA 2869)
The commission was established under the Liquor Control Act 1987. The objectives of the Commission are to:
promote economic and social growth in Victoria by encouraging the proper development of the liquor hospitality and tourism industries;
facilitate the development of a diversity of licensed facilities reflecting consumer demand while providing adequate controls over the sale and consumption of liquor; and
contribute to the effective coordination of the efforts of Government and non-Government agencies in preventing and controlling alcohol abuse and misuse.