The Division of Federal Affairs was established in early 1975 as a result of the review of the machinery of government and economy of government operations in New South Wales.(1) Although the Premier’s Department was already responsible for relationships with the federal government, from 1975 this function was strengthened with the establishment of the Division of Federal Affairs. (2)
The Division of Federal Affairs was responsible for inter-governmental relations between the State and Federal governments. Although the Division of Federal Affairs was situated within the Premier’s Department for administrative convenience, it served the new Minister for Federal Affairs. The appointment of the Minister for Federal Affairs was the first time a government in Australia created a portfolio with specific responsibility for inter-governmental relations. (3) The Division’s establishment reflected the growing concerns amongst political leaders in New South Wales over the political considerations for inter-governmental dealings and with the increasing difficulties in the implementation of joint Commonwealth-State programmes due to the complex network of departments and statutory bodies, sometimes extending over three levels of government. (4)
In 1975, staff of the Division of Federal Affairs included a Director, Chief Officer, and a Senior Officer. (5) The Division of Federal Affairs was disbanded by the end of the 1975-76 financial year when the new Labor Ministry did not include a Federal Affairs Portfolio. (6) In 1978 the Division’s functions relating to Federal/State relations were undertaken by the Government Programmes Unit but it is not clear who was responsible for the functions between 1976 and 1978. (7)
1. Moore, Barry. Machinery of Government Changes in New South Wales, Public Administration: The Journal of the Australian Regional Groups of the Royal Institute of Public Administration, vol.XXXIV, No.2, June 1975, pp 118-119; NSW Public Service Board Annual Report, year ended 30 June 1975, p.79, NSW Parliamentary Papers 1975-76, Vol.6, p.95.
2. Moore, Barry, op. cit., p.119.
3. ibid., p.121.
4. loc. cit.
5. NSW Government Telephone Directory 1975, p.187.
6. NSW Public Service Board Annual Report 1975-76, p.72.
7. NSW Government Directory of Administration and Services 1979, p.280.