Department of Social Security (Australia)

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Department of the Social Security
Department of Social Services logo 1998.gif
Department overview
Formed19 December 1972[1]
Preceding Department
Dissolved21 October 1998[1]
Superseding agency
JurisdictionCommonwealth of Australia
Employees11,494 (in 1981)[2]
Annual budget$7.7 billion per year (estimate in 1981)[2]
Department executives

The Department of Social Security (also called the DSS) was the government department in Australia, which administered the Social Security system. The Department existed between 1972 and 1998.


The Department was one of several new departments established by the Whitlam Government. It largely filled the same functions as the previous Department of Social Services, while taking over some programs from the Department of Health.[3]

The Department's delivery of payments and services functions was taken over by Centrelink in 1997.[4] The creation of Centrelink meant significant changes to DSS, with the Department shrinking in size to approximately 700 staff who were tasked with policy formulation and advisory functions.[5] The Department was dissolved completely in October 1998 with the creation of the new Department of Family and Community Services, that took on all remaining DSS functions.[1]


  1. ^ a b c CA 1482: Department of Social Security, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 15 December 2013
  2. ^ a b Andrews, Ross (1 March 1981). "Lanigan: the man and his methods". The Canberra Times. p. 7.
  3. ^ National Archives of Australia, Gough Whitlam: In Office, National Archives of Australia, archived from the original on 19 April 2013
  4. ^ Everett, Nick (1 October 1997). "Centrelink launched, staff strike". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  5. ^ Department of Social Security (16 January 1998), The New DSS, Department of Social Security, archived from the original on 6 February 1998

References and further reading[edit]

  • Secretariat Branch, Department of Social Security (1987), One big family : a short history of the Department of Social Security, Department of Social Security