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Tuesday, 22 April 1980
Page: 1654

Senator CHANEY (Western AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - by leave- I wish to make a short statement. I do this because an officer of my Department has been named in the debate. While acknowledging the very generous comments by Senator McLaren directed both to me and various other people, he was critical of Mr Powell. I wanted merely to put on record that firstly Mr Powell is a very devoted officer who to my personal knowledge works very hard and long hours for the Aboriginal people of South Australia. There have been difficulties between my Department and the Ralkon Pastoral Company Pty Ltd. These difficulties did result in the cutting off of funding a couple of years ago. It is interesting to see that the result of that seems to have been to spur that group on to further greater efforts. I must say that when I first visited South Australia the officers, from Mr Powell down, gave me a very generous assessment of the achievements of the company in the period since the Department of Aboriginal Affairs had not been involved. I place simply on record that the officer who has been criticised is a devoted officer who does very good quality work and who, in my dealings with him, has been generous in his assessments of the people at Point McLeay. I think that statement is necessary simply to balance the remarks which were made by Senator McLaren.

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