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Thursday, 18 May 1967

Mr Bryant asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

1.   Is his Department paying social service benefits on behalf of Aboriginals to nongovernmental trustees in any areas of Australia?

2.   If so, in what areas are the payments being made, and to which categories of persons are these sums being paid?

3.   What amounts were involved in the years 1961 to 1966?

4.   What supervision docs his department exercise over the disbursement of these funds by the trustees?

Mr Sinclair - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows: 1 and 2. At the request of the person to whom a social service benefit is granted, or where the Director-General is satisfied it is desirable to do so, a benefit may be paid on behalf of the beneficiary to some other person or authority. The main areas in which payments for Aborigines are affected in these ways are the central and northern parts of Western Australia, the northern paris of Queensland and South Australia, and Northern Territory. The persons or authorities to whom payments are made on behalf of Aboriginals are in the main church missions and pastoral managements.

3.   No record is available of the numbers of Aboriginal pensioners at whose request payment is made to some other person on their behalf. Thus the information requested cannot be supplied.

4.   Where payment is made to church missions and pastoral managements officers of the Department of Social Services and officers of State Departments concerned with Aboriginal welfare carry out inspections from time to time with the purpose of ensuring that the person to whom the benefit is granted receives value for it.

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