|Description of this FunctionDescription of this Function|
The Central Roads Board (VA 2803) included among its duties the distribution of grants to municipal bodies. This responsibility was assumed by the Board of Land and Works upon its creation in 1857. As local government authorities developed throughout Victoria so did the need to centrally co-ordinate them. Apparently this was undertaken via the roads and bridges function in the first instance, as this provided an existing administrative framework through the construction of roads in municipal districts. The emergence of a separate Local Government Branch in the Public Works Department (VA 669) appears to have occurred in about 1888 and the Branch continued to exist until 1958 when a separate department (VA 601) was established.
Minister of Local Government
The Minister for Local Government, first appointed in 1958, is responsible for local government authorities and the regulation and monitoring of their activities under the Local Government Act 1958 (No.6299 The Department of Local Government (VA 601) was established to assist the Minister in relation to:
approval of statutory procedures such as by-laws, submitted by municipalities
reviewing and amending legislation affecting local government
examination and review of municipal boundaries.
The Department provided consultancy and advisory services to local government bodies in relation to administrative, financial, electoral and legislative matters as well as entrepreneurial activities and joint ventures. It also had a monitoring role in relation to the operations of local government bodies and was empowered to conduct inquiries into complaints concerning local councils and officials.
Local government authorities are subject to the control of State Parliament through the Minister, and the Victorian State Government has the power to remove local councils and replace them with administrators.
In January 1991 the remaining core local government responsibilities were transferred to the newly appointed Minister for Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs, being exercised by the Office of Local Government. With the establishment of the Ministry, the Local Government Department Act 1958, was repealed, and the Office became an Associated Administrative Unit.
Following significant machinery of government changes after the October 1992 election the Department of Planning and Development was established by Administrative Arrangements Order No.114. The Department inherited responsibility for local government from the short-lived Ministry of Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs.
Following significant machinery of government changes after the re-election of the Kennett Government in April 1996 the Department of Planning and Development was abolished. Under Administrative Arrangements Order No.150 all functions of the Department, except the Office of Housing, were transferred on 3 April 1996 to the Department of Infrastructure.