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Tuesday, 4 December 1973
Page: 2368

Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -My question is directed to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. I ask: Has Dr Bustard, Managing Director of Applied Ecology Pty Ltd, been sacked by the company's board? If so, why? Did the Minister know that this action was to be taken and did he approve of the action? Lastly, will Dr Bustard remain a director of the company?

Senator CAVANAGH (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I have received notification from Senator Georges, as Chairman of Directors of Applied Ecology Pty Ltd, that Dr Bustard has been dismissed. I have been informed that it was as a result of a number of charges made against Dr Bustard at a meeting last Thursday, at which I believe Dr Bustard asked for those charges in writing. His replies were considered by the directors to be unsatisfactory. Consequently they dismissed him. It was not with my approval and it was contrary to my directions the previous day. As to whether he will be replaced on the directorship of the board, Cabinet has made a decision on the Carr and Smart reports and its decision will be announced when the Premiers of Western Australia and Queensland have been notified of it, which is a formality. Applied Ecology, which was set up as a commercial undertaking, will no longer continue as a commercial undertaking. Applied Ecology will continue as a scientific and research organisation. Therefore the present directors are unsuitable for that function. The future directors, in accordance with the recommendation of Mr

Smart, will comprise 3 scientists, 2 businessmen and a representative of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs. While that board is being set up the only directors displaced will be those who do not come within that category. Therefore, Dr Bustard and one of the representatives of the Council for Aboriginal Affairs will remain and there will be other appointments to meet the requirements of the Smart report.

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