- 1983 - 1987 (Creation)
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The Department of Territories [II] was created on 13 December 1984 by Executive Council Minute No PSB 1984/80. The Administrative Arrangements Orders of 13 December 1984 (notified in Commonwealth Gazette, No S521, 13 December 1984) stated that the new Department dealt with the following principal matters:
. Administration of the Australian Capital Territory, the Jervis Bay
Territory, the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Territory
of Christmas Island, the Coral Sea Islands Territory and the
Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands and of Commonwealth
responsibilities on Norfolk Island.
. Constitutional development of the Northern Territory of Australia.
The new Department inherited all these functions and the
responsibility for the administration of the following legislation (outlined in Administrative Arrangements Orders of 13 December 1984) from the former Department of Territories and Local Government (CA 3499):
. Ashmore and Cartier Island Acceptance Act 1933
. Australian Capital Territory Electricity Supply Act 1962
. Australian Capital Territory Gaming and Liquor Authority Act 1981
. Australian Federal Policy Act 1979 (section 69)
. Canberra Water Supply (Googong Dam) Act 1974
. Christmas Island Act 1958
. Christmas Island Agreement Acts
. Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955
. Commonwealth Functions (Statutes Review) Act 1981 Part II
. Coral Sea Islands Act 1969
. Darwin Lands Acquisition Act 1945
. Jervis Bay Territory Acceptance Act 1915
. National Capital Development Commission Act 1957
. Norfolk Island Act 1979
. Northern Territory Acceptance Act 1910
. Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978 except sections 69
. Parliament Act 1974
. Parliament House Construction Authority Act 1979
. Removal of Prisoners (Territories) Act 1923, insofar as it relates
to the Northern Territory of Australia (except to the extent
administered by the Attorney-General) and to Norfolk Island, the
Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Territory of Christmas
Islands, the Coral Sea Islands Territory and of Ashmore and Cartier
. Seat of Government Acceptance Acts
. Seat of Government Act 1908
. Seat of Government (Administration) Act.
On 2 December 1985 the Minister for Territories announced the Government's intention to combine most ACT administrative functions within a single portfolio. The Prime Minister's Press Release of 12 December, describing that administrative change, stated that:
"The principal functions have been transferred with effect from
today are those relating to territorial health services and the
ACT education system with the exception of post-secondary
education. Certain other territorial functions which were
previously the responsibility of the Minister for Housing and
Construction, Local Government and Administrative Services, Primary
Industry, and the Attorney-General have also been transferred.
"The opportunity has also been taken to transfer from the Minister
for Territories two national functions. These are the Canberra
National Memorials Committee and the National Botanic Gardens which
will now be the responsibility of the Minister for Arts, Heritage
"The Minister for Territories will be responsible for providing a
co-ordinated overview of ACT activities and budgetary processes.
These will be separately reported on an annual basis from 1986/87."
The Press Release stated the Government saw these changes as being a significant step towards the establishment of the ACT Council, which was to operate from 1 January 1987 and was to replace the ACT House of Assembly.
The Administrative Arrangements Orders issued at that time
(Commonwealth Gazette, No S523, 12 December 1985) stated that:
(a) the matters dealt with by the Department of Territories include
Administration of the Australian Capital Territory, including
Territorial health and pre-school, primary and secondary
(b) the enactments administered by the Minister of State for
Education include the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act 1922,
except insofar as it relates to pre-school, primary and secondary
(c) the enactments administered by the Minister of State for
Territories include the Commonwealth Teaching Service Act 1922
insofar as it relates to pre-school, primary and secondary
The Press Release indicated that the Minister for Territories would receive:
Legal policy responsibility for matters transferred from the Attorney-General and legislative drafting associated with functions to be transferred to the new ACT Council from the Attorney-General.
The Territorial education system (excluding post secondary
education) was to be transferred to Territories [II] from the Education potfolio while the Territorial health system was
transferred from the Department of Health.
The Minister for Housing and Construction transferred
responsibility for operations, repairs and maintenance and design and construction associated with functions to be transferred to the new ACT Council (including water and sewerage services).
Responsibility for accommodation, cleaning, surveying and mapping and vehicle operations for functions to be transferred to the new ACT Council was transferred to Territories [II] from the Minister for Local Government and Administration Services and administration of the Stock Diseases Ordinance 1933 was transferred from the Primary Industry [II] portfolio.
At the same time, responsibility for the National Botanic Gardens and the Canberra National Memorials Committee was transferred from Territories [II] to the Arts, Heritage and Environment portfolio. Details of the December 1985 administrative rearrangements are subject to further research.
In July 1987 the Prime Minister announced a major restructuring of the administration, resulting in the amalgamation of 28 departments into 16 `super-ministeries'. The Department of Territories [II] (CA 4135) was abolished. Most of its functions passed to the new
Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and
Territories (CA 5984) while the Parliament House Construction Authority Act 1979 passed to the Department of Administrative Services [II] (CA 5983).
Minister for the Department was:
13 Dec 1984 - 24 Jul 1987 : Hon Gordon Glen Denton Scholes
Secretary to the Department was:
13 Dec 1984 - 24 Jul 1987 : J D Enfield.
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