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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 2653


Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - I ask the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts whether he has seen a report of comments made by Professor Ali Mazru of Uganda recommending a policy which encourages Aboriginal children to be educated with ot without the consent of their parents and suggesting that some degree of coercion is needed if Aboriginal children are to be separated from parental influence and absorbed, through education processes, into the mainstream of change? Does the Minister agree that this is a view held by many Australians? Will the Minister inform the House what is proposed in Commonwealth administered areas to ensure that Aboriginal children are given every opportunity to overcome their present environmental handicap? Does the Professor's suggestion that in the future boarding schools should be used much more than they have been in the past have any appeal?


Mr HOWSON (CASEY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - This is an interesting question relating to the problem of trying to maintain the family environment in the Aboriginal community and at the same time increasing education standards. I think the honourable member is aware that since 1 969 an Aboriginal study grants scheme has been in operation. This scheme has helped a number of Aboriginal children to undertake a wide variety of post secondary school activities. Some students benefiting under this scheme live away from home. Also, since 1970 the Aboriginal secondary grants scheme has been in operation and has encouraged a large number of Aboriginal children to stay at school longer than they would have done otherwise. These schemes offer allowances for living away from home, the purchase of school books, clothing and so on. In the past year the amount allocated to these schemes was more than $3,500,000 which has been used to encourage over 3,500 students to gain education along the lines advocated by the honourable member.







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