A brief history of NSW Rural Assistance Authority
The NSW Rural Assistance Authority began in 1932 with the setting up of the Farmers Relief Board under the Farmers Relief Act of that year. The main function of the board was to prevent creditors taking action against farmers on debts by means of Stay Orders. When such Orders were issued the Board would appoint a supervisor to administer the farmer's affairs and it also had the power to provide carry-on finance to farmers.
The Farmers Relief Board was renamed the Rural Reconstruction Board following the introduction of the Rural Reconstruction Act 1939. This was to eliminate the idea of 'relief' with its charitable connotations. Under the Rural Assistance Act 1971 the Board again changed its name to the Rural Assistance Board.
The Rural Assistance Board assumed principal responsibility for administration in NSW of Commonwealth Rural Assistance Schemes and from 1976 the Rural Adjustment Scheme. Whilst the Rural Assistance Board was an independent authority, the Rural/State Bank acted as its agent.
Also in 1932 the Rural Bank Act established a Government Agency Department within the Rural/State Bank to administer a number of government agencies. The Rural Bank (Agency) Act 1934 transferred the Farmers Relief Agency and Rural Industries Agency to the Government Agencies Department of the Rural Bank.
In 1989 the Rural Assistance Act was passed to amalgamate the activities of the Rural Assistance Agency and the Rural Industries Agency, creating the Rural Assistance Authority as an autonomous body within the NSW Public Service.
In February 1997 the Sydney office of the Authority was closed and all administration relocated to Orange.