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Thursday, 16 May 1968

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - I have seen such reports and they have concerned me, particularly as they are not the first reports of typhoid fever in this area. There have been earlier reports of the occurrence of this disease. I have already asked my office to get in touch with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Health so that the background to this may be thoroughly investigated and measures may be taken, if necessary, for the protection and benefit of the Aboriginal community. Quarantine restrictions naturally have been imposed in the area, and as a result probably some Aboriginal people, particularly at Elcho Island, will be temporarily out of employment. I have discussed this with my Department, and those Aboriginals who are out of work because of quarantine restrictions will receive exactly the same social service benefits as are available to other

Australians. As the House may know, in the past my Department has paid a special benefit at the normal rates to Australians in other parts of Australia who have been out of work because quarantine restrictions have had to be imposed on them to protect the general health of the community. Exactly the same arrangements will obtain in the Northern Territory.

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