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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 961

Senator KEEFFE (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Is the Minister aware of the problems that most Aboriginal people face when seeking information on which government and voluntary agencies can best help them and provide them with financial and other assistance? Is he also aware of the problems Aboriginal people encounter in endeavouring even to obtain information regarding their actual entitlements and the forms of assistance available to them? Will the Minister consider launching a publicity campaign via his Department in order to ensure that such necessary and vital information is brought to the notice of all Aboriginal and island people, and for that matter to the notice of the community in general?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - For a long time my Department and I have been concerned at the lack of knowledge of Aboriginals as to their entitlements under the many assistance schemes that are operating, such as social security and medical benefits schemes and tutorial or educational grants. We hope that the problem has been overcome by the number of field officers we employ. It was hoped that the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee would act as a liaison body between the various departments and the Aboriginal people. Although the NACC is doing a portion of the work we felt there should be a course of study for NACC delegates for the purpose of educating them in respect of Aboriginal entitlements so as to assist the Aboriginal people. My Department has issued a booklet called 'Guide to Aboriginal Assistance' which lists the whole of the entitlements of Aboriginals under the various social security schemes of the Australian Government. The rapid expansion of these schemes has made the position more difficult at the present time. We hope that the publication will be widely distributed. It is available from my office for those honourable senators who are interested. The booklet gives all the necessary information.

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