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Minister for Aboriginal Affairs visit- Queensland

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EMBARGO 6 Sunday - January 18


■ The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Ian Viner MP will spend a week in Queensland making his first major contact with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Northern Australia»

The Minister will have discussions with Mr Wharton, the Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Islanders Advancement, and lunch with'the Premier and Cabinet on Tuesday 20 January» Mr Viner will visit Cairns, Aurukun and Townsville later in the week» 1

He will be accompanied on these visits by Senator Bonner, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Mr J.P.M. Long and the Queensland Regional Director of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Mr M.R. Worthy» . . .

Mr Viner said that he placed considerable importance on having direct contact with members of the Aboriginal and Islander community throughout Australia, It was part of the Government’s policy that "if a · policy of self-management is to be effective, Aboriginals must play a ■ leading role in their affairs" and that this required Aborigines to be significantly involved in setting long-term goals, objectives and priorities for expenditure, and in evaluating existing programs and formulating new ones»

The Minister said that he intended to spend about half a day each in Cairns and Townsville, and all of Friday 23 January in Brisbane, in addition to his overnight visit to Aurukun,

The Minister said that he realised that during this visit he would not be able to meet all the substantial Aboriginal groups and communities in Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands, but he expected to return to Queensland as soon as.his other commitments enabled him to. In the week beginning 26 January, the Minister will visit Darwin and · Alice Springs for initial discussions with Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory,



January 1976