Posted on April 3, 2019 by Liam Mulligan and Sue Puckeridge

UPDATE: Post-election agency restructures – Administrative Arrangements Order 2019

Following the return of the Coalition government on 23 March 2019, the Governor has issued Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes – Public Service Agencies) Order 2019, Administrative Arrangements (Administration of Acts—General) Order 2019 and Administrative Arrangements (Administrative Changes—Ministers) Order 2019 (together ‘2019 AAO‘).

The General and Ministerial orders, which identify the new ministries and the legislation for which each Minister is responsible, take effect from 2 April 2019.  The changes to Public Service Agencies will take effect on 1 July 2019.

The 2019 AAO make a number of significant changes to the existing administrative arrangements and Ministerial responsibilities in NSW, particularly those relating to planning, local government and the environment.

Firstly, the Minister for Planning is now known as the Minister for Planning and Public Places. There is no longer a Minister for the Environment but rather a Minister for Energy and Environment.

8 Ministers are presently responsible for the administration of all legislation in NSW, although 24 Ministers, including the Premier,  have been appointed. The newly named Minister for Planning and Public Places has responsibility for much of the legislation previously the responsibility of the Minister for the Environment.  He also presently has responsibility for the administration of the Local Government Act 1993.  We anticipate that many of these responsibilities will be devolved given the appointment of a Minister for Local Government and a Minister for Energy and Environment.

Secondly, as of 1 July 2019 the existing Department of Planning and Environment (‘DPE‘) is abolished and a new Department of Planning and Industry (‘DPI‘) with expanded responsibilities is established. The new DPI will be responsible to the following Ministers:

  1. Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade;
  2. Minister for Planning and Public Spaces;
  3. Minister for Water, Property and Housing;
  4. Minister for Energy and Environment;
  5. Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW; and
  6. Minister for Local Government.

Thirdly, the 2019 AAO abolishes both the Office of Environment and Heritage (‘OEH‘) and the Office of Local Government (‘OLG‘). References in any document to either of these two executive agencies are now to be construed as references to the new DPI.

Similarly, references in any document to either the Chief Executive of OLG or the Chief Executive of OEH are to be taken as references to the Secretary of the DPI.

Legislation dealing with planning , local government and the environment contains many provisions requiring the concurrence of, consultation with, or notification to the former agencies or their respective Chief Executives. The 2019 AAO deals with this as follows:

  • Where the Secretary of the DPE, the Secretary of the Department of Industry, the CEO of OEH, or the CEO of OLG (the ‘former agency heads‘) were required to consult with, obtain the concurrence of, or notify another former agency head, the Secretary of DPI will now be responsible for carrying out that consultation, obtaining concurrences or undertaking the necessary notification.
  • Where the CEO of OEH was to be consulted, to give concurrence or to be notified, those functions will be carried out by a Public Service employee designated by the Minister for Energy and Environment.
  • Where the CEO of OLG was to be consulted, to give concurrence or to be notified, those functions will be carried out by a Public Service employee designated by the Minister for Local Government.
  • Where the Secretary of the Department of Industry was to be consulted, to give concurrence or to be notified, those functions will be carried out by a Public Service employee designated by the Deputy Premier, Minister for Regional NSW, Industry and Trade.

The 2019 AAO also includes a similar provision referring to the ‘former Secretary of the Department of Planning and Industry‘. There is no such former Secretary and so we assume that this must have been intended as a reference to the former Secretary of the Department of Planning and EnvironmentThe 2019 AAO provides that the former Secretary of DPE’s functions are to be carried out by a Public Service employee designated by the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

Finally, other significant changes are that:

  • the Premier is now responsible for the administration of the Heritage Act 1977 (there is no longer a dedicated Minister for Heritage); and
  • the abolition of the Urban Growth NSW Development Corporation Staff Agency and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority Staff Agency.  All staff in these agencies are transferred to the Infrastructure NSW Staff Agency.

The orders comprising the 2019 AAO can be found here:

Please feel free to call Liam Mulligan (8235 9715) or Sue Puckeridge (8235 9705) in regard to this update.

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