WA Day - Guide to the 1988 State Cabinet Records

Logistical considerations for the 1988 Australian Bicentennial celebrations; an investigation into the riot at Fremantle Prison; redevelopment of the Old Swan Brewery located on Mounts Bay Road; and the Report of an Interim Inquiry into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were among the many issues considered and discussed at State Cabinet in 1988.

To mark Western Australia Day, each year the State Records Office produces an online guide to the State Cabinet records from 30 years ago. This year the online guide covers State Cabinet minutes and decisions from the 1988 calendar year. These records are now open access archives.

The online Guide to the 1988 State Cabinet Records (627 KB) document a change in leadership as the Hon. Peter Dowding MLA succeeded the Hon. Brian Burke MLA as Premier of Western Australia in February 1988. Two new female Ministers were sworn into the Dowding Ministry, the Hon. Yvonne Henderson MLA and the Hon. Dr Carmen Lawrence MLA.

During 1988, Western Australia was the first Australian State to implement a Seniors Card. There was an increased focus on environmental concerns as Cabinet endorsed the reduction of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in products, reviewed the use of heptachlor for eradicating Argentine ants and termites and considered the long-term ramifications of "the Greenhouse Effect", with reduced rainfall for Western Australia's SW region and an expected rise in ocean levels noted in the Cabinet briefing. Scitech was opened and Cabinet approved additional resourcing for Scitech to remain operational, as the original self-funding model was reconsidered. Cabinet considered a new rapid rail transit system for the northern suburbs in what became the Joondalup line, which commenced operations in 1992. With the increasing computerisation of government agencies, Cabinet endored the acquisition of new IBM mainframe computers and the centralisation of a government computing centre in Joondalup (Bureauwest) with a backup centre in Bunbury. Cabinet deferred a decision to ban smoking in the government workplace pending further investigation. Random breath testing was introduced following Cabinet approval and a new system for spent convictions for minor offences was introduced. Cabinet approved new measures to improve swimming pool safety including a public education campaign and new regulations for swimming pool fences and gates.

In total, almost 1,500 agenda items were tabled at State Cabinet during 1988 with Cabinet meeting on a weekly basis.

The 1988 State Cabinet records can be accessed at the State Records Office by prior arrangement.