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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 2183

Senator LAUCKE - I direct my question to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. In a statement to the Senate on 23 October concerning the turtle farming projects being conducted in the Torres Strait Islands, the Minister indicated that he was inclined to favour a system of referral of applications for loans, advances and grants for Aboriginal enterprises to an all-Party parliamentary standing committee for assessment by the Committee. Does he intend to pursue this course?

Senator CAVANAGH - All applications for loans out of the capital fund for Aboriginal enterprises are investigated at the present time by a committee which includes a representative of the Commonwealth Bank, I think Dr Coombs, and another member, and which makes recommendations. In conference with my Department I am now looking into the question as to whether in the next session of Parliament we should bring down some suggestion that applications for money of over a certain value be subject to investigation by an all-Party parliamentary committee. That proposal will be submitted for Government approval when it is ready.

I do not think, in view of the notice of motion that was given this morning, that I should go past that or say that this plan may be changed if the matter is referred to one of our standing committees and as a result of its investigations there is any recommendation. There is no desire on my part to hold the hand of, say, who gets the money. There is no desire on my part to hide whoever is funded money. I want as much as possible to see that the money that is available is used for the greatest good for the greatest number. If anyone can assist me in achieving that, whether it is by way of recommendation from a standing committee or some other committee, I would appreciate it.

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