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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2109

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Is it a fact that officers of his Department recently visited Lavarack Barracks at Townsville to assess the availability of Army accommodation for unemployed civilians? Was the visit made prior to a recommendation to the Minister that portion of the barracks area be taken over as a hostel for single Aborigines from Palm Island? Has the Minister received any complaints from Army personnel about the placing of civilians on an important military base? Is it a fact that the Army in Townsville has had difficulty in adequately housing its troops? In view of future cuts in the defence forces of Australia, is the Government now contemplating converting important military bases into hostels for unemployed civilians?

Senator CAVANAGH -My Department is responsible for a company called Aboriginal Hostels Ltd which has been formed for the purpose of securing suitable hostels for the housing of Aborigines, especially single Aborigines who come to towns or areas for the purpose of schooling or employment. The company has looked at many localities and places for the purpose of finding such accommodation. I have received no representations to take over any Army barracks for Aboriginal housing. Therefore, what is put in the honourable senator's question is not so. I do not know whether the Army in Townsville has any problems in housing its personnel. The responsibility in this area is not with my Department or any Department that I represent. If, because of a reduced vote or for any other reason, an Army establishment was not required by the Army, then I could think of no better use for it than the housing of Aborigines who want homes.

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