On 2 June, 1941 the Department of Local Government and Housing was established following the creation of a composite portfolio of Local Government and Housing. (1) The Permanent Head was Mr H.E. Street, formerly the Permanent Head of the Department of Works and Local Government.
The Department oversaw the Housing Commission of New South Wales which from June 1942 became an agency of the Commonwealth War Workers Housing Trust responsible for the construction of accommodation for munitions workers. The Commission also took responsibilities under the Housing for the Unemployed Act, 1934 - 1937and the Housing Improvement Act, 1936-1937.
The major responsibility of the new department was the monitoring and regulating of local government including:
administration of legislation, regulations, ordinances and by-laws;
Electricity distribution and regulation;
Town and Country Planning;
Loan government finances including loans;
Alteration of boundaries;
Local government area amalgamations, name changes, creation of new areas;
establishment and alterations of wards and ridings;
appointment of administrators.
reporting to parliament regarding significant business of local government.
Municipalities and shires were, however, independent bodies elected by their constituents with a range of functions bestowed upon them by the Local Government Act, 1919 as amended.
The Department of Local Government and Housing was abolished on or about 8 June 1944 following the creation of two separate portfolios of Local Government and Housing and the establishment of The Department of Local Government [II]. (3)
(1) Annual Report of the Department of Local Government for the period 1st July 1940 to 30th June 1951 in the Parliamentary Papers 1950-51-52 Vol. 3 page 113.
(2) Summary of Department of Local Government report for the period 1st July, 1940 to 30th June, 1951 in NSW Parliamentary Papers 1950-51-52 Vol. 3 p 113- 201
(3) NSW Government Gazette 8 June 1944 p. 984