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Autonomy for the national Aboriginal sports foundation

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The National Aboriginal Sports Foundation, which aims to encourage Aboriginal participation in all forms of sports, is .to become an independent body.

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Ian Viner, announced the change today, and said an Aboriginal part-time board would take office on or before 1 July, 1979. It will have a permanent staff of two and a part-time board of 12, and will report on its activities to Parliament each year.

■ As an autonomous body, it will change from the present system of being an advisory body to being responsible for deciding on financial grants to individuals and groups.

As well as receiving federal funds, it will be empowered to raise money to achieve its objects by approaching State and other government agencies, business houses, etc. It will be responsible for meeting its own administrative costs and operating expenses.

The NASF will'encourage organisations to become self-managing and self-supporting, and grants in successive years will be avoided unless there are exceptional circum­ stances.

The Foundation seeks to encourage Aboriginals to participate in sports by making awards, providing equipment, and establishing bursaries and scholarships for Aboriginal competitors, particularly Aboriginal youth.

Since its establishment in December, 1972, the Foundation has promoted Aboriginal sport in urf>an and remote areas by distributing approximately $1,220,000 for the establishment _ of clubs5 the conduct of national carnivals and for local sports activities.

Some of the sporting personalities associated with the Foundation are George Bracken (boxing), Charles Perkins (soccer), Wally McArthur and Eric Simus (rugby league), Faith Thomas (hockey), Michael Ah Matt and Brian Dixon (basketball) and Sid Jackson

( Australian Rules.)

Canberra, ACT 14 November, 1978