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Wednesday, 24 May 1972
Page: 2052

Senator KEEFFE asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

Is the Minister aware of an outbreak of scabies among Aboriginal children on the Purfleet Reserve; if so, will the Minister take appropriate action to have Common wealth funds made available to improve housing on this reserve and thus assist to improve the general health of children living there.

Senator GREENWOOD-The Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts has provided the following reply to the honourable senator's question. Information has been supplied by the New South Wales Directorate of Aboriginal Welfare:

When the scabies outbreak occurred it was investigated immediately by the Deputy Medical Officer of Health from the Newcastle Health District Office of the New South Wales Health Department. He paid two visits to the area and conferred with Officers of the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare, the Education Department, the local Council and the local hospital. A campaign was mounted to treat and bring under control what was, in fact, a very minor epidemic.

The campaign was successful and the outbreak has waned, with only two cases being reported since 9th March, 1972. Besides normal medical treatment, steps have been taken to rid any houses on the Reserve of possible pest infestation.

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