• Legislation

Social Welfare Act 1970, Victoria


The Social Welfare Act 1970 (No.8089) created a new position in the Victorian government, the Minister for Social Welfare.
In 1971, the Social Welfare Department was established, taking over responsibility for all functions previously administered by the Social Welfare Branch. In 1978, the Community Welfare Services Act provided that the title of the Social Welfare Act 1970 be changed to the Community Welfare Services Act 1970. In 1987, the Community Services Act changed the title of this legislation to the Community Services Act 1970. The Children Youth and Families Act 2005 changed the name of this legislation again, to the Community Services (attendance at school) Act 1970.

The long title is ‘An Act to establish a Social Welfare Department to make Provision with respect to the Functions of that Department, to re-enact with Amendments certain Provisions of the Children’s Welfare Act 1958, the Gaols Act 1958, the Street Trading Act 1958, the Youth Organizations Assistance Act 1958 and the Social Welfare Act 1960 and for other purposes.’

It repealed the Children’s Welfare Act 1958 No. 6219, Gaols Act 1958 No. 6259, Street Trading Act 1958 No. 6385, Youth Organisations Assistance Act 1958 No. 6421 and Social Welfare Act 1960 No. 6651.

In its 1976 Report, the Committee of Enquiry into Child Care Services recommended a review of the Social Welfare Act 1970, as well as the Children’s Court Act 1973. The Report observed that the sections of the Social Welfare Act relating to the admission of children to state guardianship ‘basically derive from the nineteenth century. They reflect the political, psychological and social beliefs of that day…’

The Norgard Report also stated that the Social Welfare Act 1970s’s provisions for approving children’s homes ‘again date essentially from very early legislation and require a radical transformation’.

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