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Wednesday, 25 September 1974
Page: 1432

Senator Keeffe asked the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:

1.   Is the design of seven houses built for Aboriginal families at Laura, Queensland, totally unsuitable for the tropics.

2.   Were the houses built on a site other than that chosen by the Aboriginals; if so, why.

3.   Were the houses on sand, with the probable consequence that they will subside in the first wet season.

4.   Will the Minister institute an immediate inquiry into the matters outlined and inform the Senate if Australian Government Funds were misused by the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Island Affairs in building the houses.

Senator Cavanagh - The answers to the honourable senator's questions are as follows:

The seven houses referred to by the honourable senator were constructed from funds provided by my Department to the Queensland State Government. I have confirmed that the substance of the allegations made is correct.

1   . The houses are of an inappropriate design.

2.   The Aboriginal people were not consulted as to their location and do not wish to live where the houses are built.

3.   There is a severe sand problem which will cause difficulties in the wet season. I might also add that the houses are nearing completion and difficulties have been experienced with the provision of an adequate water supply. It is expected the houses will be ready for occupancy soon.

4.   1 can assure the senator that action is being taken to prevent Australian Government funds being misused in this way. It is unfortunate that the stage of completion of the houses is such as to prevent us doing anything in this case.

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