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Minister ends visit to WA

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

It would be impossible for anyone to remain healthy in some of the squalid conditions he had witnessed "over his past five days* visit to the ' Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia, the Hiniste r for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Cavanagh, said today. ·

He said the conditions he had seen in Wiluna, ^unfelee and. War bur ton had been particularly depressing and were among the worst he had seen throughout Australia.

The Minister said that housing was the key to many of the problems which beset Aboriginals such as ill-health and drunkenness and reiterated the babbr Government's promise

Speaking-at.the end of his visit to Western Australia, the Minister said there was a definite need for a diversity of housing types for Aborighals. After inspection of various types of Aboriginal accommodation, both tribal and European, he said that not all the houses provided for Aboriginals were suitable

for their needs and for that reason some had never been lived in.

. The fact that four State HBusing Commission homes under construction at Warburton were still unfinished was due to a reluctance of the Aboriginal workmen based on a general disenchantment with the houses themselves. *he Minister said there was a need for greater consultation with the A.bcriginals

themselves on the particular type of housing suitable to their needs and climate.

Throughout his tour, t}je Minister urged the Aboriginal people to form * housing co-operatives so that they would be entitled to apply for housing grants t build houses of their own choice. ■ ■ - ,

In Cundeelee, ■ he said his Department would investigate the possibility of a water de-salination plant and an increase in water suplly which 'would be ' necessary before a housing program could be started there. He also premised that funds would be provided for housing at Wiluna and Warburton.

The Minister said however, that as well as being depressed, he had been heartened by many things he had seen on his visit. These included the . Kindergarten Community Lentre at Leonora, the kittle Sisters of the ?oor “ 0me for Aged Aboriginals in Kalgoolie, the new hospital and community health centre which is almost completed at Warburton and many of the working boys' and girls' and Students' hostels throughout the Goldfields region.

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Senator Cavanagh said there was still evidence of discrimination in - Western Australia and appealed to local authorities to try to find a way of ■ talking to Aboriginals so that solutions to problems of social behaviour could be found. He asked that local authorities should not ostracise Aboriginals from

the community but should consult with them in an effort for mutual understanding.

■ . The Minister is visitzig the Ceduna area of South Australia today (Friday), and tomorrow, .

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