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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 248

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct my question to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. In answer to earlier questions he told me that he received 8 months ago the report of the working party on the problems of Aboriginal unemployment, including the impact of unemployment benefit payments on Aboriginal communities and that he received about 4 months ago a draft submission for the Government from the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations. As unemployment is higher among Aborigines than among any other group in our populationapparently about 50 per cent-I ask: Has the Government yet considered the submission and when will the Minister announce the decision to the House?

Mr VINER (STIRLING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - The submission has not yet been put to the Government. It is still being worked on by my Department, the Department of Social Security and the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations.

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -A fair gestation. It is 8 months.

Mr VINER - That may well appear strange to the honourable member but the fact of the matter is that this is not only an important area for consideration but also it is a difficult area. It is one thing to hand out money as the Opposition did when it was in government without real effect upon the problem. What the Government wants to see is that when it puts money into reducing unemployment, it is effective and works for the benefit of individuals. The Government also wants to see that when it puts money into communities, despite their locality and the natural lack of employment opportunities, there is real opportunity of worthwhile work for the benefit of Aboriginal people in those communities.

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