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Thursday, 24 May 1973
Page: 2572

Mr INNES (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I address my question to the Minister for Immigration. A number of migrants in my electorate have contacted me indicating that they believe that if the migrant task force is permitted to operate in a positive way without simply becoming a rubber stamp for the Department of Immigration it will offer a great service to migrants in general. I have been told that a memorandum has been issued in the Department to the effect that information is not to be released to the task force. Will the Minister assure the House that the memo w.~s circulated without his authority and that the task force will have any information made available to it to enable it to complete the work allocated to it?

Mr GRASSBY (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Immigration) - I want to make it plain at the outset that task forces have been established to identify the most urgent problems and to recommend solutions in the short term in the areas in which they have been established. They have been set up in every capital city in all States. I gather that the honourable member was asking about the Victorian task force set up in Melbourne. I must say very bluntly that I have not heard of any such memo. I know of no such memo. I would be very surprised if one had been formulated in those terms because I have given clear instructions that all possible help, cooperation and information will be made available to these forces. That is the exact position in regard to the task forces. They must have all possible help in order to do their jobs because they are essentially a short term force to do emergency jobs in relation particularly to the Government's desire to stop the wastage and to end the drain of people from our country. Following upon the question that has been posed by the honourable member I will have urgent inquiries made and I will advise him before the end of the day on the specific matter that he has raised. But he has my assurance that there will be the fullest cooperation and the maximum facilities will be made available to enable the task forces to discharage their important jobs.

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