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Tuesday, 7 December 1976

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs a question. Is it a fact that when the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission for the first time sought to purchase a property- it was at Archer River in Cape York Peninsulaand the consent of the Queensland Lands Minister was sought, the application was referred to the Queensland Cabinet and, after 5 months delay, was refused? Is it also a fact that when the vendor asked the Queensland Minister why he had refused his consent he was told that he should talk to Comalco Ltd which might have to acquire land like this which was close to Weipa? I ask: Does the Government support the action of the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission in purchasing properties for the benefit of Aboriginals? If so, has the Minister protested to the Queensland Government about this frustration of its policy? I also ask the Minister whether a decision has yet been made on the report of the working party of last July on the problems of Aboriginal unemployment, including the impact of unemployment benefit payments on Aboriginal communities.

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