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Thursday, 6 March 1980
Page: 612

Senator ROCHER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware of a report in the West Australian of 5 March concerning the National Aboriginal Employment Development Committee's campaign to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginals in the private sector? An Aboriginal spokesman has been quoted as saying that about the only use of the campaign was to give money to the media. Will the Minister inform the Senate of details of the Government's campaign to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginals and, in particular, explain how and for what purpose funds will be used?

Senator CHANEY - A number of factual matters that I could tell the Senate were contained in a response to a question asked by Senator Cavanagh yesterday. I will not repeat those facts. I saw the report to which the honourable senator referred which quoted two leading Western Australian Aboriginals, the Reverend Cederick Jacobs and Ken Colbung. There was a suggestion, I think from Mr Colbung, that the campaign would merely result in the money going to advertisers. The fact of the matter is that this campaign has a total budget of about $300,000. The campaign has to be seen as ancillary to the various projects which I detailed in my answer to Senator Cavanagh yesterday, and which involved the direct employment of many thousand Aboriginals.

This program is meant to improve the situation where there is a relatively small amount of employment in the private sector for Aboriginal people. This program has been carried out very carefully on a pilot basis. Mr President, there was a pilot program in your State at Port Augusta and one also at Dubbo in New South Wales. In each case there were substantial results. In Dubbo 132 people were employed in a threemonth period. This figure represented a fourfold increase over the figure for the three-month period in the previous year. At Port Augusta 76 people were employed, which was a threefold increase in employment on the three-month period in the previous year. So there are some runs on the board. It is thought to be a program which can achieve positive results for Aboriginal people. A relatively small amount of money will be spent. The amounts I have talked about sit alongside amounts of many millions of dollars which go to the actual employment creating projects which I mentioned to Senator Cavanagh yesterday. The Government believes that this is an extremely worthwhile attempt to expand Aboriginal employment.

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