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Minister's visit to Northern Territory

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(Statement by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator J.L, Cavanagh)

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs,’'Senator Cavanagh was due to visit Aboriginal communities at Oenpelli, Maningrida and Goulbum Island today on the third day of a brief visit to the Northern Territory to check on progress of various issues raised during previous visits.

' Yesterday afternoon, the Minister told a meeting of 200 people at Warrabri that the Labor Government had made positive progress in land rights and self-determination for Aboriginals.

Speaking in support of Mr. Harry Nelson, ALP candidate for the forthcoming Legislative Council elections, Senator Cavanagh said his only opposition would come from the Country Party which had "a vested interest in keeping the Australian Aboriginals as a cheap source of labour for use on properties through'ihe Territory”. . .

The Minister also discussed community problems with the Warrabri people including arrests by uniformed Aboriginal police officers and the possibilityof supplying buses and four-wheel drive vehicles as well as the provision of funds for a museum.

. Earlier,^ Senator Cavanagh met 60 Aboriginals at Papunya when he announced his approval of a $10,000 grant for the commissioning of a town plan and survey of roads and building sites on behalf of the Papunya Housing.Association.

Other matters discussed included special works projects, future road construction, availability and cost of meat from other states, and the irregular payment of salaries for Australian Government employees.

The Minister apologised for the absence of the endorsed ALP candidate for Macdonnel, Mr. Bruce Braeden, who was unable to attend the meeting.

The Minister will wind up his tour with visits to communities at Snake Bay, Garden Point and Bathurst Island tomorrow and will leave for ; Adelaide on Thursday after a morning of discussions in Darwin with Northern Territory officers of the Dpeartment of Aboriginal Affairs.


8 October, 1974.