Achievements of the Fraser Government (1975 – 1983)

Tuesday, 01 August 2006

The Fraser Government faced difficult economic times: the aftermath of the world oil shock; record-breaking droughts; unsettled world markets and the legacy of the profligate Labor Government under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Initiatives of the period:

  • introduction of far-reaching new Federalism programmes
  • large scale new development projects (roads, dams, etc)
  • focus on conservation, the environment and development of national parks
  • new developments in the social security area, led by the new family allowance scheme
  • involvement on the world’s stage such as the instigation of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, CHOGRM, facilitating the emergence of Zimbabwe and playing a leading role in the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees
  • major new developments in the wages and industrial relations areas
  • focus on assistance with employment schemes and encouraging employment growth
  • new mineral resources found and developed
  • assistance given to sportsmen to help them compete more effectively at world level
  • primary producers helped through the most severe drought ever
  • succession of programmes introduced to assist businesses both large and small
  • introduction of family allowance providing direct help for mothers and families
  • family income supplement introduced
  • lone fathers’ benefit introduced
  • means test on pensions replaced by simpler income test
  • automatic indexation of pensions
  • new pensioner housing scheme introduced
  • abolition of estate and gift duties
  • establishment of Office of Child Care
  • progressive legal reforms with introduction of Ombudsman, National Companies and Securities Commission, Human Rights Commission, Freedom of Information legislation
  • ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • prohibition of sand mining on Fraser Island
  • whaling banned in Australian waters
  • declaration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • five properties placed on the World Heritage List (Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, Wilandra Lakes, Lord Howe Island and South West Tasmania)
  • Northern Territory given self government and land rights granted there
  • agreement reached with States to restore their powers in territorial seas and to establish joint authorities for mining, fishing, etc in off-shore areas and beyond
  • States and local government given permanent and guaranteed shares of personal income tax collections
  • National Women’s Advisory Council established
  • establishment of Institute of Multicultural Affairs
  • establishment of Special Broadcasting System (SBS) with special television and radio programmes
  • nuclear safeguards agreement negotiated with ten nations
  • introduction of child migrant education programme
  • introduction of import parity oil pricing as a means of conserving existing supplies and encourage exploration
  • Office of Youth Affairs and Institute of Family Studies set up to address family issues
  • National Youth Advisory Group established
  • began SYETP (Youth Training), school to work transition programme, programme for unemployed youth, youth employment task force, relocation assistance scheme and the Job Bank computer system as a means of helping young people
  • established commercial FM radio
  • established Australian Institute of Sport
  • established Sport Development Programme, National Athlete Award Scheme, National Committee on Sport and Recreation for the Disabled
  • established a number of bodies (eg National Aboriginal Conference) to further the cause of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
  • introduced income equalisation deposits as a self-help aid to primary producers to assist them in times of drought, etc
  • more referendum questions carried under the Fraser Government (3) than under any other government