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Wednesday, 14 October 1970

Mr Wallis asked the Minister-in-Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has there been any approach to the Office of Aboriginal Affairs for financial assistance in the purchase of Mount Arden Station, near Port Augusta, South Australia, for development by Aborigines as a rural property.

(2)   If so, were any feasibility studies carried out by any section of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to determine whether this property could be developed as (a) a viable property which could be successfully worked or (b) a training area for Aborigines in pastoral industry requirements.

Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) A request was received through a Bank in Port Augusta on 5th June 1970 for a Capital Fund loan to purchase and stock Mount Arden Station. It was intended that a small Aboriginal co-operative be formed to own and operate the property.

From information provided by the applicant, the Bankers and the selling agents an assessment of the proposal was carried out.

The assessment was based on known income/expenditure figures for sheep raising in similar conditions to those found at Mount Arden and the proposal was found to lack viability and long term prospects of success. In this case it is doubtful whether surplus income would have been sufficient to provide loan repayments, without considering any benefits for the members of the proposed co-operative.

Since the formation of the Capital Fund my Office has carried out a great number of investigations un rural proposals; it has been found that wilh the larger type ventures it is difficult to demonstrate that sufficient income can bc generated to service 100 per cent plus borrowings.

My Office is awaiting the views of the South Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs as to whether Mount Arden would have value as a training school for Aborigines in pastoral requirements.

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