1989 cabinet papers herald Greiner reforms

11 February 2020

The NSW Cabinet Papers of 1989 have today been published online by NSW State Archives, giving the public a glimpse into the inner-workings of the Hon. Nick Greiner’s Government in its second year in power.

Digitisation of the archived papers highlight how in the year dominated by the fall of the Berlin Wall, the former Premier’s campaign to shape a more efficient, responsive and consumer-focused Government, was well underway.

Minister for the Arts and Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin today joined the Hon. Nick Greiner AC, former Director-General of The Cabinet Office Gary Sturgess AM and commentator Anne Henderson AM to discuss key topics of the year.

“In 1989 Australian students first started receiving HECS, Aussie film Dead Calm came out in cinemas, and it was the year of the two-month airline pilot strike,” Mr Harwin said.

“Mr Greiner’s determination for an efficient and accountable Cabinet and public service during his time remains the basis of good Government practice to this day. Made available by NSW State Archives today, these papers bear witness to his drive and all that was achieved in the year.”

Significant Cabinet decisions made in 1989 included:

  • The New Agenda: the establishment of the State Owned Corporations Bill,  corporatisation of the Grain Handling Authority and the State Bank, restructure of the Electricity Commission’s coal contracts and Maritime Services Board’s management and the closure of the Government Printing Office
  • Deregulation/Regulation: changes to the egg and dairy industries, streamlined business licensing and new regulation enforcing fences for private swimming pools
  • Justice: changes to the Crimes (Confiscation of Profits) Act 1985, legalisation of ‘two-up’ on ANZAC Day, the introduction of Australia’s first hacking crimes and Life=Life sentencing legislation
  • Environment and agriculture: support for the introduction of an Ozone Protection Bill, rural water policy and management and the establishment of the Environmental Offences and Penalties Act 1989 (NSW)
  • New issues and social trends: amendment of theAnti-Discrimination Act (1977) to incorporate race, and discussions relating to Aboriginal Affairs

Access the digitised cabinet papers.

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