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Tuesday, 27 March 1984
Page: 696

Senator KILGARIFF —My question, which follows the lines of that asked by Senator Robertson, is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. It refers to the destruction which Cyclone Kathy caused to the Northern Territory town of Borroloola, an old historic town which still plays an important part in a remote area of the Territory. It has many Aboriginal and European residents. The Government is to be commended for indicating that aid is available. I note also that the Government is still awaiting advice from the Northern Territory authorities, which no doubt will come. It is reported that the Government is considering providing relief on a three to one basis. Can the Minister advise that contributions are expected and from which sources? Can he give more information regarding the matter?

Senator BUTTON —No, I cannot give more information concerning the matter. I think that if Senator Kilgariff had listened carefully to the answer I gave to Senator Robertson he would realise that apart from his statutory function of trying to allow the electors of the Northern Territory to hear him in this place the question was really quite superfluous and irrelevant.

Senator Kilgariff —I was talking about the three to one basis.

Senator BUTTON —I understand that. I made it quite clear in my answer to Senator Robertson's question that this was a matter for discussion between the Commonwealth Government and the Government of the Northern Territory. Until the Northern Territory advises what the situation is in terms of the application of the natural disaster relief arrangements there can be no response from the Commonwealth Government. It will be a matter of ongoing discussion. Insofar as I am aware, I will advise the Senate at an appropriate time of any arrangements which are made.