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Thursday, 12 October 1972
Page: 1502

Senator KEEFFE - My question, directed to the Minister for Health, is supplementary to that asked previously by Senator Murphy. Is the Minister aware that poor health and malnutrition exist widely in Queensland among Aboriginal children in fringe areas and on Government reserves? Are Commonwealth funds made available to alleviate the situation or is it the sole responsibility of the Queensland Government?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON The health services in a State would be the responsibility of that State subject always, of course, to the eligibility of the person concerned to be in a fund or to receive benefits from a fund, whether it be a hospital fund or a medical fund. In Queensland, unlike most States, there are different arrangements. I understand that in Queensland hospitalisation is free. In the generality, responsibility for the care and treatment of Aborigines in a State would be the responsibility of the State. I am aware that the Aboriginal population of Queensland is much greater than that of any other region, apart from the central Australia area. Of course it is competent for any State to make representations to the Commonwealth, under the guidelines which we all know about, for special grants or special aid if there are problems which the State considers go beyond its constitutional capabilities or perimeter.

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