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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) -I should first like to explain the purposes of clause 13 and then refer to the particular provisions mentioned by the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson). This clause prevents the Crown from granting interest in Aboriginal land the subject of a title deed held in escrow except where the Crown is obliged, under law, to grant such interest or the relevant land council consent or in the circumstances outlined in sub-clause 2(b). With respect to subclause 2 (b)(B). might I point out to the honourable gentleman that the provisions cast a burden upon the applicant to make out his case before the Arbitrator and thereby override the interests of the Aboriginals. In that sense, the applicant having such a burden, the interests of the Aboriginals are, by the force of the legislation, superior. That has the same effect as that which the honourable member is seeking, namely, to recognise the paramountcy of the Aboriginal interests. Therefore, it is not necessary for the Government to accede to the proposed amendment because, as I have indicated, the legislation already recognises the superiority of Aboriginal interests. I also mention that it does not refer to mining interests, but estates or interest in land.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 14 (Occupation, etc., by the Crown, etc., on Aboriginal land, vested in land trust).

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