Group VRG 51
State Development and Decentralisation
About this Group Related Agencies Related Functions
Date Range: 1943 - 1978
Description of this GroupDescription of this Group
Scope of Group

Between 1943 and 1978 responsibility for functions associated with State Development and Decentralisation was exercised by a number of Ministers. Previously, State Development functions had been the responsibility of the Premier (VRG 50).

The Premier's Department (VA 2717) provided administrative support in a department of state role for this portfolio until the Department of State Development (VA 552) was established in 1971.

State government concern with these functions began in the early 1940's when both Commonwealth and State governments considered it necessary to relocate essential industries to less vulnerable areas during World War II. Subsequently the Government has been concerned to promote the balanced economic, industrial and rural development of the State.

Economic and Regional Development

The portfolio was particularly concerned with decentralisation and industrial development including the:

* relocation of secondary industry to country areas through the provision of advisory services, initial financial assistance and continuing incentives and subsidies
* establishment of new industries in rural areas
* improvement of amenities in country areas through granting financial assistance to municipalities and other agencies

Its regional development responsibilities included detailed investigation of the resources of each of thirteen regions; consideration of their developmental problems and prospects; co-ordination of regional studies of matters such as land use, primary production, tourism potential, water resources and wildlife preservation; and identification of localities for accelerated development.

These activities were undertaken in co-operation with representatives of regional communities and other interested parties such as trade unions.


The Minister of State Development (VRG 51) assumed ministerial responsibility for tourism functions in 1958 and remained responsible for them until 1970 when a Minister for Tourism (VRG 59) was appointed. In 1971 the Minister of State Development resumed administrative responsibility for tourism functions when the Ministry of Tourism (VA 2919) was abolished and the Department of State Development (VA 552) undertook the administration of tourism functions. However the Minister for Tourism continued to exercise functional responsibility for tourism until 1978 when this function passed to the Minister for State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism (VRG 70). For more information on this function, see VRG 91 Tourism III.

Environmental Protection

In 1970 the Minister became responsible for environmental protection initiatives including the management of all wastes entering the environment and the control of air, water and land pollution, excessive noise and litter, for which responsibility had previously been separately exercised by many government agencies. The Environment Protection Authority was established to administer this function. In 1973 the E.P.A. was transferred to the Conservation portfolio (VRG 55).

National Parks

In 1970 the Minister inherited responsibility for National Parks from the Premier (VRG 50). This was also transferred to the Minister for Conservation (VRG 55) in 1973.


Although an Immigration Division was established within the Department of State Development (VA 552) in 1971, a Minister of Immigration exercised responsibility for immigration matters until 1976 (VRG 90). In 1976 a Minister of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (VRG 68) assumed this responsibility. The Ministry of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (VA 1042) which assumed the functions of the Immigration Division in 1977 continued to be administratively located within the Department of State Development and Decentralization (VA 552) and later State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism (VA 2881), until 1981 when it gained full departmental independence. For a history of the immigration function, see VRG 68 Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

Transfer to State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism

In 1978 the Minister for State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism (VRG 70) assumed responsibility for decentralisation, industrial development and regional development.

Location of Records

Significant records are held at the Public Record Office. See also List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.13.4 (State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism) and 3.10.2 (immigration records).


Minister of Decentralisation and Reconstruction 1943
Minister of Decentralisation 1943-1945
Minister of State Development & Decentralisation 1945-1947
Minister in Charge of State Development 1947-1947
Minister of State Development 1947-1948
Minister of Decentralisation 1948-1948
Minister in Charge of State Development 1948-1949
Minister of State Development 1949-1952
Minister of State Development & Decentralisation 1952-1958
Minister of State Development 1958-1972
Minister of State Development & Decentralisation 1972-1978

Other InformationOther Information
Agencies within this GroupAgencies within this Group
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Date within Group Agency Title Agency Number Agency Hierarchy
1943 - 1971 Department of the Premier (also known as Premier's Department 1960-1982) VA 2717 Dept. of State
1944 - 1944 State Regional Boundaries Committee VA 4154 Other Instrumentalities
1946 - 1973 Central Planning Authority VA 4151 Statutory Authority
1947 - 1973 Wimmera Regional Committee VA 4181 Other Instrumentalities
1947 - 1973 Loddon Regional Committee VA 4182 Other Instrumentalities
1947 - 1973 Corangamite Regional Committee VA 4183 Other Instrumentalities
1947 - 1973 Goulburn Regional Committee VA 4184 Other Instrumentalities
1947 - 1973 Upper Goulburn Regional Committee VA 4185 Other Instrumentalities
1948 - 1973 West Gippsland Regional Committee VA 4157 Other Instrumentalities
1948 - 1973 Mallee Regional Committee VA 4158 Other Instrumentalities
1948 - 1973 East Gippsland Regional Committee VA 4159 Other Instrumentalities
1949 - 1968 Latrobe Valley Development Advisory Committee VA 4155 Other Instrumentalities
1949 - 1973 Barwon Regional Committee VA 4152 Other Instrumentalities
1954 - 1955 Decentralisation Advisory Panel VA 2891 Statutory Authority
1958 - 1970 Tourist Development Authority VA 2918 Statutory Authority
1970 - 1973 Environment Protection Authority VA 1058 Major Statutory Authority
1971 - 1973 Mount Richmond National Park Committee of Management VA 4705
1971 - 1973 Fraser National Park Committee of Management VA 4706
1971 - 1973 Mallacoota Inlet National Park Committee of Management VA 4708
1971 - 1973 Wilson's Promontory National Park VA 542
Functions related to this GroupFunctions related to this Group
Display entries per page
Date within Group Function Title Function Number
1943 - 1978 Regional development VF 170
- 1970 Tourism VF 189
1971 - 1973 National parks VF 173
- 1973 Environment protection (regulation) VF 182