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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2513

Senator KILGARIFF(5.43) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

We come now to the very important annual report for 1985-86 on the Town Campers Assistance Program. It is for the period from May last year to June this year. It is a report that could bring about considerable debate. Because the time allowed for the discussion on Government Papers has almost expired-I think we have three minutes to go-and because we are coming to the latter stages of the Budget sittings and it is anticipated that there will be no more General Business debates this sitting, this debate will not come forward until the autumn sittings.

Senator Tate —You can speak in the adjournment debate.

Senator KILGARIFF —I think this report is so important that it wants more than just a mention in an adjournment debate. I note that there are honourable senators opposite who are very interested in this report and who believe that it covers an important matter. Although it is a couple of months away, I hope that this report will be brought forward again in February and debated at length because, as I have said before, it covers a very important matter.

The preparation of the report was brought about by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. The interesting thing which opens up the whole debate is that the Committee has adopted the following definition of `town campers':

Any group of Aboriginals living at identified camp sites near or within towns or cities which form part of the socio-cultural structure of the towns and cities but which have a lifestyle that does not conform to that of the majority of non-aboriginal residents and are not provided with essential services and housing on a basis comparable to the rest of the community.

This definition emanated from a report in 1982. The problems are still immense. Between 1982 and 1986 so many things have happened that I think it would be of considerable interest for the honourable senators who are interested in this matter to review what has happened over the last four years and where the problems now stand. My time has almost expired, so I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.