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Wednesday, 27 October 1971
Page: 2576

Mr WHITLAM - I address a question to the Acting Prime Minister about the report from the Ministerial Committee on Aboriginal Land Rights which the Prime Minister established in May. Has that Committee recommended that land should be granted to Aborigines only when in the opinion of the Government it will be put to economic use, and then only on a leasehold basis? Is this recommendation at variance with the view of the Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Affairs and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs that Aboriginals should be granted full title to land in the Northern Territory on the basis of traditional occupancy? I ask: Which approach has the Government decided to take on these conflicting views in the light of the Prime Minister's undertaking on 23rd April that he would implement a policy 'ensuring to continuing Aboriginal groups effective access to land for recreational and ceremonial purposes as well as for the development of enterprises'?

Mr Anthony - I ask the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts to answer this question.

Mr HOWSON (CASEY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - As the Prime Minister has informed the House, he referred these matters to the Council of Ministers and the Council is still examining it. When the Ministers finish their examination and the Prime Minister has received their report he will make the due announcement to the House.

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