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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 2051

Senator CAVANAGH asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Interior, upon notice:

(1)   What are the names of the 55 Pastoralists who received over-payment from the Northern Territory Administration of $8,446.09 relating to the maintenance of Aboriginal dependants.

(2)   As there was no formal agreement before these payments were made and therefore no legal action could be taken to recover these overpayments, did the Government insist on such legal agreements before making further payments; if not, will such agreements be required in future.

Senator COTTON-The Minister for the Interior has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   D. i. Driver; Allied Pastoral Enterprises Pty Ltd; Finniss River Cattle Co. Pty Ltd; W. B. Crowson; W. Braitling; C. M. and R. A. Chalmbers; E. J. Connellan; Hooker Estates Ltd; George Isaacson; G. F., J. E., S. F., P. G., and J. P. Heaslip; Doctor H. A. Fisher; Cresswell Downs Pastoral Co. Pty Ltd; T. P., J. A., and L. C. Whitly: J. (McKay; Maryvale Pastoral Co. Ltd; N. J. Hood; K. M. Hall; M. K. Collings; A. E. Arbon and M. Cartwright; Wallhollow Pastoral Co. Pty Ltd; Annaburroo Station; Connor, Daherty and Durack Ply Ltd; J. R. Dawler; J. Davey; Alexandria Station Pty Ltd; P. & M. Ward and R. A. Christie; M. E. Elliot and L. J. Sweeney; Coolibah Pastoral Co. Ltd; J. Turner; R. L. and M. A. Ciough; A. D. Spriggs; Q. G., K. N. and B. B. Webb; Inter-City Enterprises: C. W. Tapp; Herbert Brothers; H. V. Leonard; Northern Australian Estates. Ltd; J. F. Matthew and R. R. Harris; M. Schneider; M. E. F. Willick, J. L. S. and P. MacFarlane; Mrs M. E. Major; Webb Brothers; C. H. and L. V. Bridgford; Newcastle

Waters Ltd; R. Rixon, M. K. Collins; J. D. and D. A. Pender; A. E. Mawson; C. V. and P. J. Morton; R. P. Rambat; E. Kerle; Elsey Station Pty Ltd; J. C. B. Morley.

Overpayments to individual pastoralists vary in amount; a number are less than $10.

(2)   Pastoralists are under no legal obligation to administer the welfare arrangements for unemployed Aborigines residing on pastoral properties. By agreement with pastoral organisations, pastoralists have accepted the responsibility of administering funds made available by the Commonwealth for the maintenance of unemployed Aborigines on their properties.

The overpayments occurred by an administrative error in not immediately reducing maintenance payments when child endowment rates were increased in 1964. Since 1969 child endowment has been paid direct to Aboriginal mothers and in 1970 the rate of the maintenance subsidy paid to pastoralists was changed to a nett figure which is not related to movements in child endowment rates. The overpayments made in earlier years, cannot, therefore occur again.

There is no evidence to suggest that the overpayments were used by pastoral managements other than for the maintenance of Aboriginal children on the properties concerned.

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