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Wednesday, 9 November 1983
Page: 2484

Mr GORMAN —What action will the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs be taking to assist the Aboriginal people living under adverse conditions in the city areas, especially the Redfern district of Sydney, to ensure that they obtain and enjoy a better lifestyle as the problems caused by the existing conditions under which these true Australians are forced to live are reflecting adversely on the whole of the Aboriginal community?

Mr HOLDING —I thank the honourable gentleman for his question. It is true that the situation in Redfern, which has been a matter of concern to all honourable members in this House, has been very directly attributable to the living conditions of Aboriginal people in the Redfern community. The question of police relations with the Aboriginal community in Redfern is very much the responsibility of the Government of New South Wales.

Honourable members will be aware of the fact that a conference took place in Sydney last night. Some 200 Aboriginal people attended a meeting which was presided over by Mr Paul Coe of the Aboriginal Legal Service in Redfern. At that meeting there were some fairly candid and frank exchanges between the Aboriginal people present, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the State of New South Wales and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

The Commonwealth has kept a continuous involvement in this situation. At my request, the Chairman of the Aboriginal Development Commission, Mr Perkins, also had extensive meetings with Aboriginal people in Redfern over the last two days. He is preparing a report for the consideration of the Government dealing with a number of projects which the Aboriginal people have suggested. If the Government can support these projects, they could quite materially alleviate some of the problems and tensions in that area.