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For press



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FOR PRESS

(Staternentby the Minister for the ^^f

Interior,hr Peter Nixon.)

The Minister for the Interior,Mr Peter Nixon,announced

today that the Commonvi alth Government had agreed in principle to contribute towards the legal costs of the Aboriginals w Zo have brought an action against the O' weath

and 11abalco Pty Ltd, claining rights to the land on Dove Peninsula required for the very large bauxite/alumina project planned for the area,

Mr Nixon said people helping the aboriginals had appealed fo ,^ donations towards legal costs which could be substantial.

Solicitors acting for the i boriginals had also approached the Commonwealth for help so that the

preparation and presentation of their case should not be

hampered by lack of funds.

Because of the very important issues involved the Commonwealth had no alternative to def ending the action so that an authoritative ruling would be given •by the court on the far-reaching questions involved,

Mr Nian said that,at the same time,the Government did not wish the Aboriginals to be at a disadvantage in

conducting their case because of lack of funds.

The extent of the Government's contribution would be determined after further information had been provided by

the solicitors.

The contribution would sup.lement the funds available to the Aboriginals from other sources

Mr Nixon said he wanted to make it quite clear that in defending the action the Government was not acting in a spirit of opposition to the Aboriginals,but was seeking a determination of the legal issues that had been raised,

The Commonwealth case would be conducted on this basis. ...040... 25/1/69.