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Thursday, 29 November 1973
Page: 2312

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) -Before the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) replies I wish to intervene on the matter of turtle farming. A report was submitted a week or two ago by a Committee of the House of Representatives. I thought that it was quite a helpful report from the point of view of opening up matters which Senator Georges had disclosed to the Senate. I am conscious of the fact that Senator Byrne has motions on the notice paper to refer certain financial matters to a Senate committee to examine the financial operations of the turtle companies. But I did see a Press report to the effect that the Government is considering the discontinuance of these projects. I am of the impression that the appropriation we are now considering includes $1.16m for these projects. I would like the Minister to tell me whether or not a decision has been made to continue or discontinue the projects. I must say that on my present information I will not vote, even if I remain alone in a division, for 6c to go to this turtle farm unless the Minister can give the Senate an undertaking that it will have a report before Christmas before any more money is misspent on the project.

I do not wish to excite any acrimony in this debate but in the briefest possible way I wish to indicate the intensity of my feeling about the squandering of public money not for the benefit of the Aborigines but to the enrichment of other people. From the point of view of Aboriginal welfare, conservation and true economics the whole program is misconceived. We would be recreant to our trust if we allowed another dollar to be spent on this outfit as it is set up at present.

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