Ever since the British Government sent the First Fleet to Botany Bay to set up a penal colony the state has played a central role in the regulation of economic activity in Australia. During the nineteenth century, the colonial governments in Australia continued to take on roles for themselves that were uncommon in the United Kingdom. Most prominent then were the large-scale government businesses that were set up in the postal and railways departments. These departments were the forerunners of the government business enterprises that still exist today. Also in the late nineteenth century Australia became an innovator in the field of industrial relations regulation, through the establishment of quasi-legal bodies to regulate labour markets, as well as an innovator in a range of other fields of government activity such as the use of the tariff to protected industry, subsidised immigration, welfare payments to distressed individuals and a range of other activities.