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Wednesday, 10 November 1976
Page: 2519

Mr PORTER (BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware that the water tank supplying Point McLeay collapsed on Monday night with the result that the town is running the risk of being without reticulated water for the summer? Will the Minister tell the House how much money was made available to the State of South Australia to provide an adequate water supply for Point McLeay and when that money was first provided? Whilst I understand that some emergency provisions are being made by that State, will the Minister use all the resources at his disposal to ensure that the State commences work immediately, as further reluctance by it to do so will cause great inconvenience and a grave risk of disease in the area?

Mr VINER (STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I am aware that the water tower at Point McLeay collapsed on Monday night. My Department in South Australia, in conjunction with the Point McLeay Community Councilthat is the council of the Aboriginal people living there- and the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department, has taken emergency steps to supply water to the community. Two 20 000-gallon tanks are being provided and the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department has advised that these tanks ought to be erected by the weekend. They will be paid for out of moneys provided by my Department in previous years which, regrettably, were not spent on a water reticulation project to renew completely the water reticulation system. As far back as April 1975-1 might say that this was under the previous Administration $240,000 was provided by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs for this purpose. The Community Council entered into a contract with the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department to carry out this work. Regrettably, the work has not proceeded with the speed with which it ought to have proceeded. My Department has been pressing both the Council and the South Australian Engineering and Water Supply Department to get on with the job. Presently an amount of $ 1 97,000 is available out of this year's Budget appropriation for this project. On 2 November my colleague in the other place, Senator Guilfoyle, notified the Senate that it was expected that the work would commence within 3 weeks. That 3 weeks period has nearly passed. Now that the water tower has collapsed, I hope that everybody concerned will get on with the job so that the people of Point McLeay can have a proper water reticulation system.

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