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Wednesday, 27 September 1972
Page: 1198

Senator GUILFOYLE (VICTORIA) - My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Health, relates to health services for Aborigines. I refer to the leading article in the 'Medical Journal of Australia' which was based on a semi- nar held at Monash University in May 1972. I ask: Has the Government received the recommendations from the seminar and, if so, can the Minister supply any information as to Government reaction to the specific recommendation that a national advisory body be set up, including Aboriginal, Government and nongovernment members, to advise Federal and State authorities on the formulation, establishment and assessment of programmes for Aboriginal health advancement?

Senator GREENWOOD - Naturally, the article in the 'Medical Journal of Australia' has been seen and the reference to the seminar noted. The fact that the seminar was held, of course, has been known to the Department. I think that yesterday Senator Turnbull asked a question which touched upon some of the matters to which Senator Guilfoyle has referred today. 1 think I should say that the report of the seminar is being considered at the present time. It should not be supposed that no action has been taken. As I said yesterday, every level of activity in meeting this problem has been stepped up. Health education, immunisation and other preventive programmes have been undertaken. There are improved hospital and allied facilities and there is a growing and continuing consultation with the other authorities concerned. In addition, this report has been submitted to the Administration in the Northern Territory and it is expected that the Northern Territory Legislative Council also will make its comments. When all the consideration has been completed and comments have been received, the Government will be in a position to say exactly what is being done. So one can say there are 2 lines of activity. One is that various types of activity have been taken and are being stepped up; I have mentioned some of them. Secondly, consideration has been given to this report by as wide and as representative a group of people interested in the subject matter as possible.

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