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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1386


Senator KILGARIFF —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to a report in yesterday's Northern Territory News in which it is stated that minutes of a meeting of the Northern Land Council indicate that the Council has refused to allow a group of traditional owners to proceed with a tentative agreement with Queensland Mines Ltd under which that company would explore on traditional Aboriginal land. Is the Minister aware that the Kunwinjku Association apparently wishes to proceed with the agreement with Queensland Mines, which was reached after extensive negotiations and consultations with the traditional owners? If the traditional owners are satisfied with the deal they have reached with the mining company, does the Minister believe that the Northern Land Council should be permitted to ride roughshod over their express wishes in this way? What action will the Minister take to ensure that the wishes of the traditional owners of the mining company are not frustrated by this, or further, interference of the Northern Land Council?


Senator TATE —It is true that for the next 35 minutes I will be the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. But I am doubly removed from a familiarity with the portfolio as I am only in that capacity representing Senator Ryan. So I am afraid to say that in the brief that I have before me I do not have sufficient information to give Senator Kilgariff an adequate answer. I will attempt to find an answer for him as soon as possible.