|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
Appointment of Minister of Transport 1934
The appointment of a new Minister of Transport on 13 September 1934 signalled the beginning of a more coordinated approach to transport-related functions and a growing concern with central regulation of transport services and better management of State-owned public transport. Initially this approach was restricted to more extensive regulation and better coordination of commercial motor transport services, and the management of the State's railways. By 1952 it was extended to management of State-owned tramway and bus services, and some aspects of air transport regulation; in 1973-74 to road construction and management; in 1981 to motor registration and driver licensing; and in 1983 to ports and harbours development and maintenance, and the regulation of marine vessels and crew.
Rail Services From 1934
The Minister of Transport took over responsibility from the Minister of Railways (VRG 32) for all State railways functions, including:
- railway policy and management
- railway construction and maintenance
- railway refreshment services
- road motor services associated with rail services
- state coal mining until 1968 when the State Coal Mine (VA 720) closed
- the Newport Power Stations to 1939 and 1951 respectively when they became the responsibility of the Minister in Charge of Electrical Undertakings (VRG 47)
- operation of State tourist bureaux to 1958 when they became the responsibility of the Minister for State Development, Decentralisation and Tourism (VRG 51)
- management of Mt Buffalo Chalet to 1986 when it became the responsibility of the Minister of Tourism (VRG 91).
Responsibility for the management of the State's railways and associated services was exercised until 1983 by Victorian Railways (VA 2876) and thereafter by the State Transport Authority (VA 1038) and Metropolitan Transit Authority (VA 1044). Railway construction was undertaken until 1964 by the Railway Construction Branch (VA 690) of the Board of Land and Works (VA 744), the Railway Construction Board (VA 691) until 1980, and thereafter the Railway Construction and Property Board.
Regulation of Motor Transport From 1934, Road Safety and Traffic Management
The Transport Regulation Board (VA 2738) was initially set up in 1933 to report on the better co-ordination of all forms of transport in Victoria, but restricted its attention to rail and road services. It was reconstituted in 1934 with responsibility for licensing commercial motor transport services, regulating vehicle standards and passenger motor vehicle routes and timetables. Until 1951 it also conducted public hearings on state wide transport issues. Responsibility for the regulation of country bus services had previously rested with local authorities (VRG 12 Municipalities) and licensing of commercial passenger services with Public Works (VRG 28) through the Country Roads Board (VA 722). The Board's role involved more extensive licensing and control than had previously been exercised.
In March 1971 the Road Safety and Traffic Authority was established by the Road Traffic (Road Safety and Traffic Authority) Act 1970 (No.8058). Under this amending Act to the 1958 Road Traffic Act, the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) 1971-1979, Minister for Police and Emergency Services (VRG 73) 1979-1981, and from 1981 the Minister for Transport became responsible for co-ordinating improvements to road safety and traffic management, as well as research into road accidents. Operational responsibility for this function was previously undertaken by the Country Roads Board (VA 722) on behalf of the Traffic Commission, a co-ordinating body made up of representatives from all authorities with responsibilities relating to traffic management, including the Chief Commissioner of Police (VA 724), Country Roads Board (VA 722) and Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (VA 1007).
NOTE: See the Road Traffic Act 1956 for the establishment of the Traffic Commission. Further research is needed to clarify ministerial responsibilities for traffic management and road safety functions and their co-ordination.
In 1981 the Minister of Transport and the Transport Regulation Board (VA 2738) also took on motor registration and driver licensing, functions previously exercised by the Chief Commissioner of Police (VA 724) for the Minister of Police and Emergency Services (VRG 73).
Extension of Co-ordination Role From 1952: Tram and Bus Services and Air Transport Regulation
In 1952 the co-ordination role was further developed by the provisions of the Transport Act 1951 which established a Ministry of Transport (VA 673) and extended the Minister's responsibilities to include the regulation of:
- metropolitan and country urban tramways
- motor omnibus services
- licensing of commercial passenger aircraft.
The provisions of the 1951 Act relating to the regulation of air transport, which was primarily a Commonwealth function, were repealed in the 1955 Transport Regulation Act.
The needs of primary production, secondary industry, trade and commerce had a strong influence on moves towards better co-ordination of transport services at this time.
Responsibility for the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramway Board (VA 2694) was inherited from the Minister of Public Works (VRG 28), for urban tramways in country Victoria from the Minister for Minerals and Energy (VRG 47), and for regulating metropolitan and country urban bus services from local government authorities (VRG 12 Municipalities).
Road Construction From 1973
In 1973 the Minister became responsible for country road construction and management, inheriting responsibility for the Country Roads Board (VA 722) from the Minister of Local Government (VRG 57), and in 1974 for metropolitan highways and bridges, inheriting this responsibility from the Minister for Planning (VRG 65).
Sea Transport and Port Facilities From 1983
In 1983 the Minister of Transport's portfolio was extended to include the development and maintenance of ports and harbours, as well as the regulation of marine vessels and crews. Responsibility for ports and harbours formerly rested with the Ports and Harbours Division of the Public Works Department (VA 669). The Minister of Transport also inherited responsibility from the Minister of Public Works (VRG 28) for the Marine Board of Victoria (VA 1424), the Port of Melbourne Authority (VA 1426), other local harbour trusts, and the Grain Elevators Board (VA 1057).
Restructuring of Transport Portfolio 1983
In addition to assuming responsibility for sea transport and port facilities, under the provisions of the Transport Act 1983 (No.9921), there was a substantial restructuring of the Minister's portfolio. The management of metropolitan public rail, tram and bus services was amalgamated in the Metropolitan Transit Authority (VA 1044), while country public transport services became the responsibility of the State Transport Authority (VA 1038). Road construction and management throughout Victoria became the responsibility of the Road Construction Authority (VA 1054), while regulation, licensing and registration of all forms of motor transport, road safety and traffic management responsibilities rested with the Road Traffic Authority (VA 1036). The Minister had earlier become responsible for the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority and in 1988 inherited responsibility for the Traffic Accident Commission (VA 2892) from the Treasurer (VRG 23).
Further Restructuring 1989
Further alterations to transport legislation in 1987 under the Transport (Amendment) Act 1989 (No.44) brought about another significant rearrangement of the Minister's portfolio. Two major statutory authorities were established, and between them assumed much of the operational responsibility for the provision of public transport services and for road construction, maintenance and traffic regulation. The Roads Corporation (VA 2982) inherited all the functions previously carried out by both the Road Construction Authority (VA 1054) and the Road Traffic Authority (VA 1036), and the Public Transport Corporation (VA 2984), assumed responsibility previously undertaken by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (VA 1044) and the State Transport Authority (VA 1038).
Location of Records
See List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, sections 3.19.0 (Roads) and 3.21.0 (Railways, State Coal Mine, Roads, Ports and Harbours, Marine Board of Victoria).
Further Research Required
Aspects of traffic and transport regulation, and administration of the Transport, Transport Regulation and Road Traffic Acts have been the joint responsibility of the Minister of Transport, the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) and the Minister of Police and Emergency Services (VRG 73). Further research is required to define the nature of their individual responsibilities and their inter-relationship, as well as the co-ordination of the various agencies involved (the Chief Commissioner of Police (VA 724) and the Roads Corporation (VA 2982) and its predecessors).
Further research is also required into what aspects of air transport regulation were a State Government rather than a Commonwealth Government responsibility from 1951 to 1955 and which agencies have exercised responsibility for the regulation of transport generally (other than road transport) in the post-1983 period.
Minister of Transport 1934-ct.