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Thursday, 22 May 1980
Page: 3219

Mr Uren asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development and Energy, upon notice, on 1 April 1980:

(   1 ) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to statements reported in the Perth Daily News of 27 December 1976 by Mr Patrick Connolly, a former Royal Air Force Corporal who served at Maralinga, SA, that many Aboriginal people walked across restricted areas contaminated by radiation, that when found there, they were detained and put through a decontamination process that lasted 2 to 3 days and that RAF personnel were always bringing them in.

(2)   Can the Minister say whether Aboriginal people were detained for decontamination at the Maralinga Range; if so, how many persons were detained.

(3)   Were any measures taken to monitor the subsequent health of these persons; if so, what measures were taken.

Mr Anthony -The Minister for National Development and Energy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) Yes: I have read the report in the Perth Daily News of 27 December 1976.

(2)   See reply of the Minister for National Development to Question No. 2827 (Hansard, 22 February 1979, page 337).

While the Maralinga Range was in operation, Aboriginals approaching the Range were intercepted by ground patrols and arrangements made for their return to their communities.

Examination of Commonwealth records to date has identified only one instance of Aboriginals entering a contaminated area during operation of the Maralinga Range. This occurred in May 19S7 and involved a group of four Aboriginals camping overnight near one ofthe test sites. They were discovered the following day and examined by Australian radiation safety officials who detected minor contamination which was removed by washing. It was concluded that there was no possibility of any radiation injury having occurred.

(3)   No.

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