The Community Welfare Act 1972 (Act no. 1972/031) came into effect on 1 July 1972. The scope of the Act was broader than the Child Welfare Act 1947, as it included a greater emphasis on general welfare services for the community as a whole. It established the Department of Community Welfare, which integrated the child welfare activities previously undertaken by the Department of Native Welfare with the previous functions of the Child Welfare Department, as well as adding wider community welfare functions. The Act was reprinted as the Community Services Act 1972 on 15 October 1986 and was repealed by the Children and Community Services Act 2004 on 1 March 2006.
The Community Welfare Act 1972 came into effect on 1 July 1972 and established the Department for Community Welfare. In his annual report in 1973 (p.7), the Director of the department, Keith Maine, noted that the 'new functions require the Department to give much more attention to community issues and problems, and all those social matters which effect the well-being of families and individuals'. Maine recalled to this broader emphasis forty years later when he gave evidence to the Special Inquiry into St Andrew's Hostel, Katanning (19 March 2012, pp.997-998), recalling how the Act enabled the department to involve itself in areas that might be considered the cause of family disruption. The functions of the new Department for Community Welfare, which included the child welfare functions handed over from the Department of Native Welfare, were (s.10):
The Act was reprinted as the Community Services Act 1972 on 15 October 1986 and was repealed by the Children and Community Services Act 2004.
1972 - 2006 Community Welfare Act 1972
2004 - Children and Community Services Act 2004
Sources used to compile this entry: To Remove and Protect: Aboriginal Lives Under Control [website], 2010, https://aiatsis.gov.au/collection/featured-collections/remove-and-protect; ; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Western Australia Legislation', 13 December 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser and Leanne Howard
Created: 18 July 2011, Last modified: 15 June 2018