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Wednesday, 16 October 1974
Page: 1738

Senator McLAREN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Is the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs aware of a report which appeared in the Murray Valley 'Standard' of 3 October stating that 25 Aborigines were dismissed from the Murray Bridge Corporation when Aboriginal employment grants were stopped? Did the Australian Government make funds available to the Murray Bridge Corporation for the employment of Aborigines? If so, were these funds stopped? If they were, what were the reasons?

Senator CAVANAGH - I have not seen the report referred to, but at no time were funds stopped, refused or withdrawn from the Murray Bridge Corporation. I recall attending a meeting of the Murray Bridge Corporation once with Senator McLaren to discuss the matter. On that occasion we granted $34,000 in funds to employ 18 Aborigines on a special works project during the last financial year. I believe this project, as envisaged, has been completed and we have reports that the Corporation was very pleased with the standard of work attained by the Aboriginal people. But it does appear that the Murray Bridge Corporation neglected to lodge a further application for funds for this financial year. The work ceased because the other funds ran out. An application was not lodged in sufficient time for a continuation of funds. We have now received from the Murray Bridge Corporation a further application for a special works allocation of $37,400 to employ Aborigines during the financial year 1 974-75. Such funds will allow the continuation of the previously commenced employment project. I am advised that the funds will be shortly available to the Corporation.

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