On 29 February 1984 the Department of Local Government was established to monitor Local Government within New South Wales. This function had previously been undertaken by the Office of Local Government.(1)
The Department of Local Government was also responsible for the administration of the Local Government Boundaries Commission and the Local Government Grants Commission.(2) The Department consisted of the following business divisions: Policy and Research, Secretariat, Administrative Services, Land and Building Development, Theatres and Public Halls, and Finance and Inspectorate. Major legislation administered by the Department included the Local Government Act 1919, Theatres and Public Halls Act 1908, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.(3)
The Local Government Department issued certificates of qualification to certain council officers - town and shire clerks, auditors, civil engineers, gas engineers, town planners, health inspectors (sometimes called health surveyors), and overseers of works. Examination Committees comprising Departmental Officers, local government representatives, and relevant professionals were set up within the framework of the Department to define curricula, hold examinations, and issue certificates. This system of statutory positions within local councils where only professionally qualified and certified officers could be engaged would last for the duration of this agency.
By 1991, the Department included a Special Investigation and Management Audit Branch to inspect council management and accounts to ascertain whether councils and senior management are efficient and effectively undertaking their principal functions of planning, organising, leading and controlling the activities of the council.(4)
The Department of Local Government (III) was amalgamated with the Registry of Co-operatives on 1 July 1991 to create the Department of Local Government and Co-operatives.(A)
1. NSW Government Gazette, 2 March 1984, vol.1 (Gazette No. 31), p1421.
2. NSW Government Directory 1985, p322.
3. ibid., p321.
4. NSW Government Directory 1991, p233.
5. Annual Report for the Department of Local Government and Co-operatives for 1991-92, p2.