|Description of this GroupDescription of this Group|
SCOPE AND FUNCTIONS
The Treasurer has traditionally been responsible for the administration of the State's finances, including economic policy, financial planning, resource management, investment and loan-raising, budget preparation, revenue-raising and collection, and the control and monitoring of government expenditure. Following the appointment of the first Minister for Finance (VRG 100) in January 1991 the Treasurer lost control of the control and monitoring of government expenditure and the Comptroller-General. The expenditure monitoring function was however returned in October 1992 following the election of the first Kennett Government. For this reason the Treasurer's records contain a wealth of information about the financing of State government departments and their functions.
The major agencies involved with these functions have been:
VA 865 Department of the Treasurer (also known as Treasury and Treasurer's Office 1851-1982)
VA 1022 Department of Management and Budget 1982-91
VA 3007 Department of the Treasury 1991-ct.
Large Finance Authorities
A number of major statutory authorities with finance responsibilities have been included in the Treasurer's portfolio, including the State Bank (VA 1041) until 1991 when the State Bank was sold to the Commonwealth Bank, State Insurance Office (VA 1033), the State Tender Board, responsible for all government tenders and contracts over a specified amount (moved to Finance VRG 100 in 1991, back to the Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992), and the Rural Finance Corporation (VA 2985). The Stamp Duties Office and the State Taxation Office, which are responsible for administering payroll and land tax and the collection of probate and gift duty were merged in April 1992 to form the State Revenue Office and are located within the Department of the Treasury (VA 3007). Since 1982 the Treasurer has also been responsible for the registration of friendly societies, a function inherited from the Minister of Property and Services (VRG 69).
Administration of Superannuation Schemes
Traditionally the Treasurer has been responsible for superannuation and pension schemes for public servants, railway employees and teachers, currently administered by the State Superannuation Board. Increasingly the agencies responsible for other government employee schemes have been concentrated in this portfolio. The hospital scheme was transferred from Health (VRG 39) in 1982, the sea pilots' scheme from Public Works (VRG 28) in 1983, the coal miners' scheme from Minerals and Energy (VRG 47) in 1983, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade's scheme from Police and Emergency Services (VRG 73) in 1985. In October 1992 the administration and oversight of superannuation schemes and policy was transferred to the Finance portfolio (VRG 100). From 1 July 1989, the Sea Pilot's fund was administered by an independent body known as the Port Phillip Sea Pilot's Superannuation Fund Incorporated. This fund is not responsible to the Treasurer.
Accident compensation for government employees was the responsibility of the Minister of Labour and Industry (VRG 42) until 1983 when it was transferred to the Treasurer. The scheme was extended to cover all workers in the State from 1985 when Workcare legislation replaced the existing multi-insurer system with a single fund centrally co-ordinated by the Accident Compensation Commission (VA 2732). Responsibility for Workers Compensation passed to the Minister for Labour (VRG 86) in 1990 with the Law portfolio (VRG 19) becoming responsible for the Tribunal functions.
Statistics and Actuarial Functions
From 1874 the Government Statist and Actuary (VA 989) was responsible for census-taking and the collection of statistics. The census function passed to the Commonwealth (VRG 87) on Federation and since that time many of the Office's statistical activities have also been taken over by the Commonwealth, later Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Treasurer inherited the Government Statist and Actuary's Office from the Minister of Property and Services in 1983. The position of Government Statist and Actuary has not been filled since the mid-1980s. The Office's remaining actuarial functions are performed on a contract basis by the sector.
From 1978/79 until 1985 the Minister of Property and Services was also responsible for the function of monitoring government land sales. This function was inherited by the Treasurer in 1985 and was the responsibility of the Land Monitoring Division of the Department of Management and Budget until it was transferred to the Planning portfolio (VRG 65) in early 1990. In 1991 the function was transferred back to the Treasurer and remained in this portfolio until it was transferred to the Minister for Finance (VRG 100) after the October 1992 election.
All purchases and sales of properties by Government of $100,000 or more require Land Monitoring approval to ensure that all Government requirements under the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 in relation to property transactions are met. The function was established to provide Government with an independent safeguard against further land dealings of the type criticised at the Gowans Board of Enquiry and later at the Frost Royal Commission. This function is completely separate from the budgeting and planning functions in relation to government real estate. The function encompasses:
monitoring all purchases and sales of properties by Government of $100,000 including assessing submissions from agencies and monitoring of auctions.
the development of policies for the management of government real estate
assisting in identifying properties that are surplus to current needs. Administering the Government's decision in relation to the disposal of surplus railway land
Historically the Treasurer has been responsible for a range of other functions, including post offices in 1856 and 1857 (see also VRG 21 Postmaster-General); the administration of the estates of deceased persons and those incapable of managing their own affairs until 1931 when this function passed to Law (VRG 19); the Public Trustees Office from 1945 to 1949, a responsibility inherited from and passed back to Law (VRG 19); administration of financial grants to the arts until 1972 when a Minister of Arts (VRG 61) was appointed; the Government Printer (VA 1035) until 1978 when the Minister of Property and Services (VRG 69) became responsible and defence from 1858 to 1883 when a Minister of Defence was appointed (VRG 38). More details about other functions historically associated with the Treasurer's portfolio are provided below.
In 1858 the Treasurer assumed responsibility for defence co-ordination and policy from the Chief Secretary (VRG 26).
From the 1850's onwards provision for the defence of the colony became increasingly important. In 1854 a select committee of the Legislative Council (the Select Committee on the Defence of the Colony) was appointed to take evidence and report upon the probable manner in which the Colony might be attacked. The Committee recommended:
that an application should be made to the Imperial Government for a war steamer
that arms and ammunition should be purchased from the Royal Arsenal
that the strength of Imperial troops stationed in the Colony should be augmented
and that a local volunteer corps be established.
In November 1854 an Act was passed authorising the enrolment of a volunteer corps to be placed under the supervision of an officer of Her Majesty's regular forces. The Melbourne Volunteer Rifle Regiment, the Victorian Yeomanry Corps and the Geelong Volunteer Rifle Corps were formed under the Act.
In 1856 the wooden steam sloop Victoria arrived in the colony and the Victoria Barracks in St. Kilda Road were commenced.
Between 1854 and 1858 the Colonial Government was responsible for the payment of the Imperial forces stationed in the Colony. However in 1858 the arrangement in force prior to 1854 was reverted to whereby the Imperial War Office defrayed the Imperial pay and allowances of the regular troops while the Colony provided the requisite accommodation and colonial pay and allowances. The Colonial Government was also responsible for expenditure on defence works.
In July of 1858 the total strength of the regular and volunteer forces in Victoria was 1,112. In 1863 the volunteer forces were re-organised under the provisions of the Volunteer Corps Amendment Act 1863. The re-organised forces consisted of the:
Royal Victorian Volunteer Artillery
Victorian Volunteer Engineers
Victorian Volunteer Rifles.
In May 1866 the Treasurer, Mr G.F. Verdon, proceeded to England to bring the subject of the defence of the Colony to the notice of the Imperial Government. This resulted in the acquisition by the Colony of the training ship, the Nelson in 1868, and the contribution by the Imperial Government of 100,000 pounds towards the construction of naval defences for the Colony. (In 1871, the Cerebus arrived in the Colony as a result of these negotiations.)
In 1870 all Imperial troops were withdrawn from the Colony. The defence of the Colony now rested entirely upon colonial volunteer forces and the defence issue became increasingly politically important. After general elections in 1883 the new government appointed a Minister for Defence (VRG 38). In 1884 the entire volunteer forces were disbanded and a militia defence force was established in its place.
NOTE: Further research is required to establish lines of responsibility for the central administration and co-ordination of the armed forces prior to 1883.
For further information about the administration of defence see VRG 38 Defence.
Hospitals and Charities
From 1864 the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Acts had provided for the incorporation of any institution, society or association which had been established with the object of saving human life, promoting health, temperance or morality, preventing cruelty or vice or for other philanthropic or humane purposes and which was funded entirely or in part by voluntary contributions. Such institutions were governed by trustees and committees or boards of directors elected by contributors.
Many of these institutions received financial assistance from the Government and by 1882 an Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools and Public Charities had been appointed within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475). In 1895 the Inspector of Charities was transferred to the Department of the Treasurer (VA 865).
The Chief Secretary was responsible for the administration of the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Acts until 1923 when, following the proclamation of the Hospitals and Charities Act 1922 (No.3260), the Charities Board of Victoria (VA 2707) was established and the Treasurer became responsible for its administration.
The Charities Board was responsible for determining which hospitals and charitable institutions should be established and the purposes for which they were required. The Board was responsible for the allocation of funds from the Hospitals and Charities Fund and could recommend the closure or amalgamation of subsidized institutions and benevolent societies. The Board was responsible for the administration and inspection of hospitals and charities other than those exempt from the provisions of the Act (see section 5 of the Act); all institutions were to be registered by the Board and no institution or society could be established without the prior consent of the Board. Unregistered institutions were not eligible to receive grants from the Hospitals and Charities Fund, consolidated revenue or municipalities and were prevented from making appeals for voluntary contributions. The Board was also responsible for the regulation of fund raising activities.
In 1944, under the provisions of the Ministry of Health Act 1943 (No.4988), the Minister of Health (VRG 39) became responsible for the administration of the Hospitals and Charities Acts.
The Housing Commission (VA 508) was established by the Housing Act 1937 (No.4531) following the recommendations by a Slum Reclamation Abolition Board. The Commission was responsible to the Treasurer for the clearance of slum areas, improving existing housing, establishing minimum housing standards, providing public housing for persons with limited means and zoning areas for residential or other use.
From 1945 funding was allocated to public housing under the terms of a Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. The Housing Commission was also responsible for administering this fund and directing the construction of estates of public housing. Although responsible to the newly appointed Minister of Housing (VRG 53) from 1945, the Commission continued to be located within the Department of the Treasurer (VA 865) until 1973 when the Commission became part of the Ministry of Housing (VA 609).
The Treasurer was also responsible for registering and monitoring co-operative building societies until 1973 when this function passed to the Minister of Housing (VRG 53).
From the time of first permanent settlement in Victoria in 1836 the control and supervision of liquor licensing was a judicial procedure carried on in courts of petty sessions. However the actual issue of licences for the sale and supply of liquor, and the registration of these was considered a completely separate, non-discretionary function. This registration and issue function was the responsibility of the Colonial Treasurer in Sydney.
Justices, later licensing magistrates, granted authorising certificates to the successful applicants for liquor licences. The appropriate fees and certificate were lodged with the Colonial Treasurer who upon receipt of these, would issue the licence. Justices were required to transmit lists of certificates granted to the Colonial Treasurer's Office. In September 1837 the Police Magistrate Port Phillip District (VRG 7) was appointed to issue publicans' licences for Port Phillip. In 1839 under the provisions of the Act 2 Vic., No.18, the Sub-Treasurer at Melbourne (see VRG 11) was delegated to grant licences in the District of Port Phillip.
Following separation from New South Wales, liquor licensing legislation continued to place responsibility for this function with the Victorian Colonial Treasurer. However in 1864 all existing statutes were repealed and replaced by the Wines, Beers and Spirits Sale Act 27 Vic., No.227. This Act made provision for the function of registration and issuing of liquor licences to be the responsibility of the treasurer or collector of revenue within local municipal bodies, if one existed in the district in which the licence was applied for. In areas where no such government agency existed licences continued to be issued by the Treasurer of the Colony. A further Licensing Act 1876 40 Vic., No.566 continued this system but required that a certain percentage of all revenue raised by municipalities from liquor licences issued was to be sent to the Treasurer along with an account of all such moneys received.
The Licensing Act of 1885 49 Vic., No.857 repealed the previous legislation and established a "Licensing Act 1885 Fund" which was to be applied to the carrying out of the provisions of the Act. All fees for licences and all fines for forfeitures incurred under the Act were to be paid to the Treasurer who was to administer the Fund. Duplicates of all certificates granted were to be sent to the Treasurer (s.73). Subsequent legislation continued to place responsibility for the registration and issue of liquor licences with the Treasurer.
With the proclamation of the Liquor Control Act (No.7695) in 1968 the system of liquor licensing in Victoria was completely overhauled. The Act established the Liquor Control Commission (VA 1110) which unlike earlier licensing courts had the power to issue licences and collect fees. Responsibility for the registration and issue of liquor licences therefore passed to the Chief Secretary (VRG 26).
For a more detailed account of the administration of liquor licensing see VRG 4 Courts for the period 1836-1968 and VRG 82 Industry, Technology and Resources for the period 1968-ct.
For records documenting the administration of liquor licensing in Victoria researchers are advised to consult:
VRG 4 Courts, for the period 1836-1968
VRG 7 Police Magistrate, Port Phillip District, 1836-1839
VRG 11 Superintendent, Port Phillip District, 1839-1851
VRG 26 Chief Secretary, 1969-1979
VRG 42 Labour and Industry, 1979-1982
VRG 82 Industry, Technology and Resources for the period 1968-ct
VRG 89 Tourism II, 1982-1982
VRG 71 Economic Development, 1982-1983
VRG 77 Industry, Commerce and Technology, 1983-1985
Other General Licensing
It appears likely that the Treasurer was also responsible for the collection of revenue, issue, and registration of licences other than those for liquor, including licences for:
Hawkers and Peddlers
Real Estate Agents
Watchmen and Guards.
However further research is required in this area.
Public Service Board/Commissioner (VA 886)
This agency was responsible to the Treasurer from 1883 to 1894 and in 1936 and 1937. The Chief Secretary (VRG 26) was the responsible Minister in the intervening years. In 1937 the agency became part of the Premier's portfolio (VRG 50).
The earliest taxes imposed in Victoria were customs duties which were placed upon a range of imported and exported goods and were administered by the Department of Trade and Customs (VA 606) from 1851. Throughout the second half of the nineteenth century the government introduced a number of taxes and duties administered by various offices within the colonial government. Amongst these taxes were: duties on estates of deceased persons, established under the Duties on the Estates of Deceased Persons Act 1870, a land tax established by the Land Tax Act of 1877 and duties on the production of tobacco and beer.
Of all colonial taxes, import and export duties were by far the most significant, accounting for approximately one quarter of the Colony's revenue, however jurisdiction for all customs duties was transferred to the Commonwealth upon federation in 1901.
Income tax was introduced into Victoria in 1895 under the Income Tax Act 1895 (No.1374). This Act imposed a tax on all income derived by any person either by personal exertion or from the produce of property. It also introduced a tax on the revenue of companies. In order to administer this tax an income tax office was established within the Treasury. In the early part of the twentieth century the responsibilities of this office were enlarged to include the administration of other state taxes.
Although the Commonwealth introduced a separate income tax prior to the Second World War, the states remained the major collectors of income tax until the 1940's. However due to the increased financial demands placed upon it during the Second World War the Commonwealth Government passed legislation in 1942 effectively removing from the states the right to collect income tax and establishing a uniform national tax system. To compensate the states for the loss of their income tax revenue a system of annual grants from the Commonwealth to the states was introduced. Initially these arrangements were to cease at the end of the war, but they were later extended indefinitely, the basis upon which grants were made changing from one of compensation for loss of previous tax revenue to one of states' needs.
Throughout the 1950's and 1960's the Victorian Government introduced a number of indirect taxes to compensate for the loss of its income tax revenue. The state continued to administer probate duties, land tax, taxes on the issue of a range of licences, motor vehicle registrations and on betting through the TAB and bookmakers' takings, amongst others.
A division of the Department of the Treasurer continued to oversee the administration of these taxes and from the early 1970's onwards became known as the State Taxation Office or State Tax Office. In 1971 the right to impose payroll tax was transferred from the Commonwealth to the states and in Victoria the Payroll Tax Act 1971 (No.8154) established a system for administering the tax. Since that time payroll tax has been the State's most important source of tax revenue.
In the 1980's the Commonwealth Government alone exercises the right to impose customs and excise duties, sales tax and personal and company income tax. The ambit of taxation now left to the states comprises motor taxation, stamp duties, liquor, land, lottery, racing, payroll and entertainment taxes. The collection of gift duties is shared between the Commonwealth and the states as are probate duties. The latter were abolished in Victoria on 1 January 1984. Since that time the State Tax Office has collected duties on a decreasing number of estates relating to deaths prior to 1984.
Traffic Accident Compensation
The Motor Accidents Board (VA 1055) and from 1986 the Transport Accident Commission (VA 2892) have been responsible for administering a no-fault insurance scheme for people injured or killed in motor vehicle or traffic accidents. The Treasurer inherited responsibility for this function from the Minister of Labour and Industry (VRG 42) in 1985 and in 1988 passed it to the Minister of Transport (VRG 49). In October 1992 responsibility for the Commission was transferred back to the Treasurer.
EARLY HISTORY OF FINANCE AND STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT 1836-1855
The Port Phillip District was established as part of the Colony of New South Wales in 1836 and Captain William Lonsdale became its Police Magistrate with responsibilities for the District's general superintendence (see VRG 7). In December 1838, Sub-Collector of Customs Webb also became responsible for the collection of other revenue, including that from land sales, and was appointed Sub-Collector of Internal Revenue and Sub-Treasurer (Historical Records of Victoria, Volume 4, p.69). The Sub-Treasurer continued to have responsibility for revenue collection and control over expenditure under the Superintendent (VRG 11) from 1839 to 1851. Following separation from New South Wales in 1851 a Colonial Treasurer was appointed, assuming financial superintendence from the New South Wales Colonial Treasurer and local functions from the Superintendent (VRG 11).
During the years 1851 to 1855 chief executive authority rested with the Governor advised by the Executive Council. The main departments of government were those of the Colonial Secretary (VRG 16) and the principal colonial officials or principal officers of government, including the Treasurer, Auditor-General, Surveyor-General, Collector of Customs (later the Commissioner of Trade and Customs), and Postmaster-General. The Colonial Secretary was the chief official and all other colonial officials communicated with the Lieutenant-Governor (later Governor) via his office.
A number of Ministerial Groups covering the responsibilities of the principal colonial officials have been dated from 1851. They are:
GROUP RESPONSIBILITIES 1851
VRG 18 Lands Survey and Mapping
VRG 19 Law Crown-Solicitor's Services
VRG 21 Postmaster-General Post Offices
VRG 22 Trade and Customs Trade, Customs, Ports and Harbours
VRG 23 Treasurer Finance and Revenue Collection
All other functions - census and statistics, health, immigration, police and prison administration, the "protection" of Aborigines, education, goldfields administration, public works and buildings, roads and bridges, and the management and sale of Crown lands (until 1853) - and the responsible agencies have been included in the Colonial Secretary's Group (VRG 16), unless an agency clearly belongs to one of the categories covered by the Non-Ministerial Groups -VRG 3 Armed Forces, VRG 4 Courts, VRG 5 Cemeteries, VRG 8 Health and Welfare Agencies, VRG 9 Prisons and Youth Training Centres, VRG 10 Police, VRG 12 Municipalities, VRG 24 Educational Institutions, and VRG 27 District Land Offices. The Auditor-General's Group (VRG 15) has also been dated from 1851. As the entire business of the colony was conducted either directly or indirectly through the Colonial Secretary, the Colonial Secretary's records reflect not only the functions of the Colonial Secretary but also those of other colonial officials.
During this period the executive arm of government was not subject to parliamentary control. The principal officers of government were appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor (later Governor) and were responsible through him to the British administration. Government nominees to the Legislative Council and Executive Councillors were appointed from their ranks, but their executive positions as colonial officials were not dependent on their retaining their seats in Parliament (then the Legislative Council only), as was the case after 1855. The Treasurer was a member of the Executive Council (VA 2903) between 1851 and 1855.
Ministerial appointees after 1855 were for a time also effectively heads of their Departments and it was not until the 1880's that public service structures as we know them today began to emerge. However after 1855 the chief colonial officials or principal officers of government can be considered to have achieved Ministerial status and their executive positions (as Ministers and Executive Councillors) were dependent on their retaining their seat in Parliament and the support of the majority in the lower House.
THE TREASURER AS HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
The Treasurer has frequently also been the head of government or Premier.
Prior to December 1936, the Chief Minister was not commissioned as Premier and there was no separate Premier's portfolio. Until 1874 the head of government or Chief Minister was invariably the Minister commissioned as Chief Secretary who exercised the responsibilities of that portfolio as well as those of the head of government. However from 1874 to 1936 the role of the Chief Minister or Premier (as the role was titled from 1874) was separated from the portfolio of Chief Secretary and was held by Ministers variously commissioned as
1855-1874: Chief Secretary (VRG 26)
1874-1875: Attorney-General (VRG 19)
1875-1877: Treasurer (VRG 23)
1877-1880: Chief Secretary
1880-1881: Chief Secretary and Treasurer
1881-1883: Attorney-General and Treasurer
1893-1894: Chief Secretary
1899-1900: Chief Secretary
1909-1912: Chief Secretary
1917-1918: Chief Secretary
19201920: Solicitor-General (VRG 19)
1921-1924: Minister of Water Supply (VRG 36)
1924-1927: Minister of Water Supply
On 23 December 1936 the head of government in Victoria was for the first time separately commissioned as Premier with separate portfolio responsibilities, although the Premier also held the portfolio of Treasurer from 1936 to 1982.
The main functions associated with the head of government role have been:
leadership of the Ministry/Cabinet and chief spokesperson for the Government
liaison with the Governor, other Governments and the Commonwealth
provision of advice to the monarch on behalf of the Victorian Government.
For more information about the history and function of head of government in Victoria, see VRG 50 Premier.
Administrative Support for Head of Government Role
Administrative support for the head of government function was initially provided by the Chief Secretary's Office within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475). By 1883, in view of the fact that the head of government was no longer always the Chief Secretary, separate administrative arrangements were made and a Premier's Department or Office (VA 672) was established.
The functions of the Premier's Department on its establishment were set down in an Order-in-Council of 29 May 1883:
correspondence with other colonies, governments and the Agent-General
correspondence with the Governor, including despatches from the Secretary of State in Britain referred by the Governor to Ministers
matters referred to the Premier and Cabinet by other Ministers or departments for their consideration
other matters concerning the Premier
issuing Cabinet circulars and attending upon Cabinet (VA 2989)
matters relating to the Public Service as a whole.
The Office's role in the central co-ordination of Government policy gradually expanded. Following Federation in 1900 it also became responsible for relations with the Commonwealth and other States.
From 1884 to 1890 this Office functioned as a sub-department within the Department of the Treasurer (VA 865); from 1890 to 1894 as a separate Department of State; from 1894 to 1928 as a sub-department within the Chief Secretary's Department; and from 1928 to 1936 again as a sub-department within the Department of the Treasurer.
From December 1936, the Department of the Premier (VA 2717) and from 1982 the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (VA 1039) assisted the Premier in his/her head of government functions and the co-ordination of government policies and programs.
From 1936 to 1982, as the Premier was also the Treasurer, the Department of the Treasurer may also have performed support functions for the head of government role, including co-ordination of Cabinet business.
Office of the Agent-General
Responsibility for the Agent-General for Victoria in London appears to have been associated with the provision of administrative support to the head of government role and hence was a responsibility of the Treasurer between 1883 and 1894 and again between 1928 and 1936.
The first Agent-General took up office on 1 December 1868, being created under the Immigration Act 1863 (27 Vic 175). Functions of the Agent-General, established under the 1863 Act included:
selection of emigrants and their conveyance to Victoria
making contracts for such selection or conveyance on behalf of the Government of Victoria
carrying out provisions of the Act
presiding at all meetings of the Emigration Commissioners.
In 1872 the first Agent-General's Act 1872 (No.441) was passed. One of the sections of the Act provided that the Agent-General should carry out the instructions of the Governor-in-Council and ,in 1904, the then Agent-General was instructed to reorganise the Agent-General's office upon a commercial basis so that the development of markets for Victorian produce, the dissemination of useful knowledge regarding the State, and the correction of misapprehension as to its people and resources might be the chief functions. From this time the office of the Agent-General dealt less with emigration.
Responsibility for the Agent-General transferred from the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) in 1883 and back to the Chief Secretary in 1894. In 1936 responsibility passed to the Premier (VRG 50).
FUNCTION SHIFTS FOLLOWING THE CREATION OF THE FINANCE PORTFOLIO
In January 1991 the first Minister for Finance was appointed and the Ministry of Finance (VA 3016) was established. Similar to the Commonwealth model the government created a finance ministry separate to the Treasurer's portfolio to monitor and control government expenditure and to evaluate the effectiveness of government programs. As well as these traditional Treasury functions the Finance portfolio also included the government accommodation, property and asset management functions as well as the various commercial services from the abolished portfolio of Property and Services (VRG 69).
Focus of portfolio
Traditionally the Treasurer had been responsible for collecting revenue, allocating it amongst government activities and monitoring the effectiveness of this allocation process. January 1991 thus saw a significant shift way from this model with the deliberate creation of the Finance portfolio to closely monitor and where appropriate, review the government's budgetary performance. With the new Finance portfolio the government signalled its intention to concentrate on the effectiveness and efficiency of government expenditure against its policy objectives. Thus as part of the new portfolio the Effectiveness Review and the Strategic Analysis Units were established to help the budget management and control process. This separation between revenue collection and budget allocation was only shortlived as the Kennett Government transferred the budget oversight functions back to the Treasurer's portfolio in October 1992.
Significant machinery of government changes have impacted on this group in January 1991, January 1992 and October 1992. As a result several functions move back and forth three times eg: from Property and Services to Finance to Treasurer back to Finance.
The following functions were transferred from through Treasurer's portfolio:
government expenditure - monitoring and control of (back to the Treasurer in October 1992);
Comptroller-General's division - management of the government's bank account (the Accounting Audit and Policy Unit was not transferred until January 1992);
information technology policy (back to Treasurer in January 1992);
supply of furniture, stores and equipment - including the State Supply Service and the State Tender Board (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
land valuations and the Office of the Valuer-General (VA 2322);
Government Employee Housing Authority (VA 1356) (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
government courier service (VA 1858) (transferred to the Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
Government Information Service - provision of government information to the public and the coordination of government information services - transferred from Property and Services VRG 69 to the Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs portfolio in January 1991 and then transferred to Finance in October 1992 (NOTE: There is no single group for the short-lived Ethnic, Municipal and Community Affairs portfolio, hence the transfer of the function is shown to Finance in 1991);
government computing service (VA 1857) (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
government printing (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
government advertising (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992);
government catering (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992);
Office of Geographic Data Coordination (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
mobile communications network (transferred to Treasurer in 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
government vehicle pool - car hire (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
VICFLEET - management of the government's vehicle fleet (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992);
Vistel Ltd - government's telecommunications public company (transferred to Treasurer in January 1992 and back to Finance in October 1992).
the Public Sector Workforce Management Unit was transferred from the Minister for Labour (VRG 86) in October 1992.
Location of Records
The Public Record Office has substantial holdings of the Treasurer's records. The Treasurer's correspondence and financial records are an important source of information about many aspects of government administration as they provide details of the provision of funds to other departments and authorities, the activities being funded and how the money has been expended.
See also List of Holdings 2nd edition, 1985, sections 3.22.0 (Treasurer's records), 3.12.0 (Housing Commission and Registrar of Co-operative Society records), 3.11.4 (Hospitals and Charities Commission records).