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Wednesday, 13 September 1972
Page: 1376

Dr Gun asked the Minister for the Environment, Aborigines and the Arts, upon notice:

(1)   How much Commonwealth finance has been made available to the Foundation of Aboriginal Affairs in Sydney in each year since the Foundation's inception.

(2)   Has his attention been drawn to a report in The Review, 27th May-2nd June 1972, (a) that the present manager of the Foundation has abolished the Foundation's welfare program and cancelled such things as providing amenities for showering and shaving or a free meal for welfare cases who needed help to get back their self-respect and dignity before looking for a job or housing and (b) that the second floor of the building used by the Foundation, once used as emergency accommodation for Aboriginals in need, has been converted into a comfortable apartment for the present manager and his family at an alleged cost of $7,900; if so, will he investigate these allegations.

(3)   Was a meeting of the Foundation, called to discuss a move to dismiss the present manager, not held because the executive refused to convene it, in spite of the fact that 10 signatories, as required by the Constitution of the Foundation, requested the meeting.

(4)   If the allegations in parts (2) and (3) are correct, will he take whatever action is necessary to ensure that Commonwealth funds appropriated for Aboriginal welfare are spent as the Parliament intended.

Mr Howson (CASEY, VICTORIA) (Minister for Environment, Aborigines and the Arts) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   ~

1968- 69: $50,000, including $25,000 paid by the New South Wales Government from the Commonwealth's grant to the State under the States Grants (Aboriginal Advancement) Act 1968; 1969- 70: $65,000, including $51,500 for a Walgett community centre. In addition, in April 1970 a loan of $5,000 was made to the Foundation from the Capital Fund for Aboriginal Enterprises to assist with the operation of a shop at the Sydney International Air Terminal. The loan was transferred to Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Pty Limited on 1st July 1971. 1970- 71: $37,000, including $8,000 for operating costs of the Walgett centre and $10,000 for appointment of Aboriginal Art Adviser of which $6,000 was paid by the Australian Council for the Arts; 1971- 72: $32,000 including $10,000 for operating costs of the Walgett centre.

(2)   Yes, the allegations are being investigated.

(3)   I have no knowledge of this matter apart from the report in The Review.

(4)   Yes, irrespective of whether the allegations are correct.

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