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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr VINER (Stirling) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - The amendment which the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) has moved is implicit in the legislation because, from their very nature, identification and mapping of such sites would not be done in breach of Aboriginal usage. The intention of the amendment apparently is to ensure that the register does not record, or at least does not make available to unauthorised persons, information on secret or sacred matters. There is no reason whatever why the recording and mapping of sites for the purpose of identifying clan areas- and that is the purpose of this work- need incorporate any such material. It could be done by the simple location and nomination of sites without additional information and might often be done without referring to the most sacred or dangerous sites, and certainly without including any secret or sacred information. It seems preferable to leave a matter of this kind to the Aboriginals of the land councils who are themselves well versed in Aboriginal lore and custom. Indeed, there is already throughout Australia mapping of such sites. The Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies undertakes this kind of work, as I am sure the honourable member for Mackellar would acknowledge. However, I do acknowledge the force of what the honourable member says. For that reason, I am prepared to accede to the amendment. However, I do not accept the force of the reasons advanced in support of the amendment- I must say with respect- by the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Calder). The advice received by this Government on the contents of this Bill has come from traditional Aboriginal land owners and others who have traditional interests in Aboriginal land.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 25 to 39- by leave- taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 40 (Grants of mining interests).

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