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Tuesday, 17 September 1974
Page: 1119

Senator RAE - Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware that finance has been requested by the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women for the payment of rental for the headquarters of the Council which is presently at 99

King Street, Melbourne, a building called Aboriginal House? Finance was first allocated to the Council by the Victorian State Government but, following the assumption by the Commonwealth Government of control of Aboriginal affairs, the Council has been waiting to hear whether it can continue to operate from that building and whether finance will continue to be available, as it would have been under the Victorian Government's control. Is the Minister aware of the concern of the National Council at the failure of the Commonwealth Government to provide an answer and let it know what the future position will be? When will the Minister provide finance for the Council's headquarters so that it can continue to perform its very necessary role without the fear of being unable to have a permanent place from which to operate?

Senator CAVANAGH - In my position as Minister I receive many applications from the National Council of Aboriginal and Island Women for financial assistance. Many of them we meet, such as for the calling of its annual conference. I cannot recall receiving an application for the payment of moneys for rent. Of course, it may well be in the pipeline being processed, if it has been submitted. I do not see the reason for asking why the Council cannot receive what was previously paid by the Victorian Government. The position in Victoria is exactly the same as the position in other States. We have not taken over Aboriginal affairs at this stage in Victoria. If it is the practice of the Victorian Government to pay this money, the fault, if there is any, is not on the part of this Government. But I shall look into the question. I think the honourable senator will find that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Council of Women, through its Secretary, Mr Briggs, is especially thankful for the Australian Government's contributions to the organisation.

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