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Aboriginal Land Rights Commission - second report



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PRIME MINISTER

v47vPRESS STATEMENT 7 May 1974A b o r i g i n a l Land R ig h ts Commission - Second R e portThe Prime M i n i s t e r , Mr W h itla m , announced to d a y t h a t th e Government had accepted in p r i n c i p l e the recom m endations c o n ta in e d in th e Second R e port o f th e A b o r i g i n a l Land R ig h ts C om m ission.The R e port had been r e c e iv e d by th e Government f o l l o w i n g i t s p r e s e n t a t io n to th e G o ve rn o r-G e n e ra l l a s t F r id a y , 3 May, and was now b e in g re le a s e d in accordance w it h th e u n d e r ta k in g g iv e n by . th e Prime M i n i s t e r i n h is P o lic y Speech.. F o llo w in g i t s r e - e l e c t i o n , th e Government w i l l a rra n g ed is c u s s io n s w it h A b o r i g i n a l C o u n c ils and c o m m u n itie s in th e N o rth e rn T e r r i t o r y , w it h a vie w to e a r ly l e g i s l a t i o n .■ Mr W h itla m p a id t r i b u t e to the C o m m is s io n e r, Mr J u s t ic eA. E. Woodward, f o r th e way in which he had co n d u cte d th e I n q u i r y .The Com m issioner had enabled A b o rig in e s to p a r t i c i p a t e w it h an e f f e c t i v e n e s s w h o lly new in A u s t r a li a n h i s t o r y . At the same tim e w id e ly r a n g in g e vid e n ce was r e c e iv e d on th e is s u e s a f f e c t i n g h is term s o f r e f e r e n c e .; Mr W hitla m s a id t h a t the Government s t r o n g l y endorsed th eJ u d g e 's vie w t h a t "an imposed s o l u t i o n to the problem o f r e c o g n is in g t r a d i t i o n a l A b o r i g i n a l la n d r i g h t s i s u n l i k e l y to be a good o r l a s t i n g s o l u t i o n " , and would adopt th e s u g g e s tio n t h a t th e p ro p o s a ls be ta ke n as a b a s is f o r n e g o t i a t io n between th e A b o r i g i n a l R e p r e s e n ta tiv e C o u n c ils and com m u nitie s and the G overnm ent,Mr W hitla m s a id th e Government b e lie v e d t h a t the R e p o rt p r o v id e d e w e l l b a la n c e d c o n s id e r a t io n o f th e c la im s and needs o f A b o r i g i n a l A u s t r a li a n s in the N o rth e rn T e r r i t o r y w h ile e n s u rin g r e s p e c t f o r r i g h t s g ra n te d under p re v io u s G overnm e nts. I t s recom m endations o f f e r a- fram ew ork under w hich th e l e g i t i m a t e c la im s o f A b o rig in e s can be m e t - and t h e i r dee p a f f i l i a t i o n w i t h t h e l a n d a c k n o w l e d g e d . I t w o u l d t h e r e f o r e p r o v i d e a b a s i s f o r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y w h i c h A u s t r a l i a n s c a n i n goo d c o n s c i e n c e a c c e p t and d e f e n d .I ■ . T h e G o v e r n m e n t w e l c o m e d e s p e c i a l l y t h e R e p o r t ' s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s r e l a t i n g t o m i n i n g . T h e y c l e a r l y j u s t i f y t h e G o v e r n m e n t ' s c o n c e r n t o e n a b l e A b o r i g i n e s t o p r o t e c t t h e i r w a y o f l i f e f r o m t h e d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t o f m i n i n g d e v e l o p m e n t . . I n p a r t i c u l a r i t e n d o r s e s t h e G o v e r n m e n t ' s d e c i s i o n o n Q u e e n s l a n d M i n e s p r o p o s a l s t o m i n e u r a n i u m a t N a b a r l e k . t ! T h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r s a i d t h a t t h e e l e c t o r a t e w a s e n t i t l e d t o k n o w w h a t a t t i t u d e t h e O p p o s i t i o n w o u l d t a k e t o t h e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s o f t h e R e p o r t . H e h a d m a d e a r r a n g e m e n t s f o r c o p i e s o f t h e R e p o r t t o b e p a s s e d t o L e a d e r s o f t h e O p p o s i t i o n P a r t i e s i n t h e P a r l i a m e n t , t o t h e P r e m i e r s a n d t o C o r p o r a t i o n s r e f e r r e d t o i n t h e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s .