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Thursday, 17 November 1983
Page: 2939

Question No. 580

Mr Porter asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 4 October 1983:

(1) Is funding available to Aboriginal families to enable them to return deceased relatives to their tribal land for burial.

(2) If so, (a) what amount was spent for this purpose in 1982-83, (b) what amount has been allocated for 1983-84 and (c) what form of assistance is available.

Mr Holding —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) My Department does not provide direct assistance to Aboriginals for funeral and transport costs. However, Aboriginal organisations have been funded in the past to purchase appropriate vehicles to assist in the transport of bodies for burial.

(2) (a) and (b) Nil.

(2) (c) This matter is the responsibility of State and Territory welfare authorities. All such authorities will arrange a basic ('pauper's') funeral for Aboriginal people at the place where thay die should this be the only available option.

This is not acceptable to most Aboriginal people.

Some States and the Northern Territory will provide limited ($50-350) once-off payments or transport assistance, subject to a means test, to assist Aboriginal families with the cost of transporting and burying deceased relatives.

I have asked the National Aboriginal Conference to examine the possible development of a funeral and death insurance scheme. In addition, I have asked the Aboriginal Development Commission to examine the possible establishment of a funeral fund or other appropriate arrangements.