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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 2732

(Question No. 1403)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice, on 7 October 1986:

(1) Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware of claims that following the broadcast of a television program on Peppimenarti, the cattle operations at the station have been hindered by the activities of the Northern Land Council (NLC).

(2) Can the Minister confirm that the Peppimenarti operation has been interfered with by the NLC preventing the mustering of Peppimenarti's cattle.

(3) What action does the Minister propose, given the hard work, and measure of success, which has been achieved at Peppimenarti, to investigate these claims, and ensure that Peppimenarti continues to provide a lead for Aboriginal people.

(4) Is the Minister aware of claims reported in the NT News of 21 September 1986 of a Mrs Petherick of Wagait that the NLC has robbed her family of more than $1m worth of cattle.

(5) Will this claim be investigated; if so by whom.

Senator Ryan —The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2 and 3) The ownership of cattle and buffalo on land vested in the Daly River/Port Keats Aboriginal Land Trust has been the subject of dispute for some time. S.25 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (the Act) imposes a statutory responsibility on the Northern Land Council to resolve disputes between Aboriginal groups in respect of Aboriginal land within the area of the Land Council. The Council is attempting to resolve this dispute.

(4 and 5) My attention has been drawn to an article in the Sunday Territorian of 7 September 1986 reporting similar claims by Mrs Petherick. The matter of traditional ownership of the Wagait land was recently considered by the Northern Land Council and the Council determined in accordance with s.24 of the Act that Mrs Petherick's family were not traditional owners. On that basis the Pethericks have no entitlement to receive moneys from the use of the Wagait land under the Act.