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Wednesday, 5 December 1973
Page: 4362


Mr Hunt asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Australian Government agree with the Victorian Government to take over complete responsibility for Aboriginal housing as announced by the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Dickie) on 4 September 1973.

(2)   Can the Minister say whether Mr Dickie said 22 days later that he had receiveda letter from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs requesting the Victorian Government to maintain administrative responsibility for Aboriginal housing; if so, was such a letter sent.

(3)   Does the Australian Government intend to take over complete responsibility for Aboriginal affairs from the relevant State departments on 1 January 1974.

(4)   Is the Department of Aboriginal Affairs sufficiently staffed and equipped to assume total administrative responsibility for Aboriginal affairs throughout Australia on 1 January 1974.


Mr Bryant - The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   My predecessor subsequently wrote to the Victorian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Mr Dickie) requesting that the Victorian Government maintain administrative responsibility for Aboriginal housing.

(3)   Discussions with a number of States is continuing and I hope that it will be possible to conclude these in time to ensure that the Australian Government can assume responsibility for Aboriginal affairs in a number of States by1 December.

(4)   Arrangements for the Australian Government to assume State responsibilities for the policy planning and co-ordination of Aboriginal programs provide for the staff at present employed by the relevant State authorities to transfer to the Australian Public Service if they wish. To facilitate this, the Public Service Board has approved an appropriate organisation for the State offices of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and this organisation is expected to be substantially filled with officers transferring from the State Public Services and additional officers now being recruited. My Department expects to be sufficiently staffed and equipped to assume responsibility for Aboriginal affairs as transfers are accepted in various States.







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