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Wednesday, 13 November 1974
Page: 2304

Senator LAWRIE (QUEENSLAND) - I ask a question of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. What are the objectives and aims of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress? What are the amount and sources of finances available to the Congress? Who are the office bearers, and how long have they held office? What remuneration and allowances do they receive? Will the Minister supply details of expenditure and receipts of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress? Lastly, how often does the Congress have an executive meeting, how often does it have a general meeting, and how many have attended each meeting held to date? When and where were these meetings held?

The PRESIDENT - It is a question that really should go on notice.

Senator CAVANAGH -Mr President,it is not a coincidence that I have those facts with me because Senator Lawrie informed me that he intended to ask the question and I got my Department to provide the information. The purpose of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress is to provide an independent agency for Aboriginal advancement in central Australia, to promote better understanding between European and Aboriginal people within central Australia and to encourage the economic and social development of Aboriginal people, and to promote the Government's policy of selfdetermination. Funds are made available to the Congress from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, membership funds and independent donations. A grant of $ 10,000 was paid in 1 973-74.

As proof that I have some briefing on the question, I indicate that the general secretary is Mr Neville Perkins. He has held that position for 2 years. The president is Mr M. Liddle, the field officer is Mr H. Parrproultja and the vicepresidents are Marlin Gambidymba from Wellowra, Helmet Parrbroultja from Hermannsburg, Trixie Simpson from Docker River, Bobby Liddle from Alice Springs and Roy Dubois from Alice Springs. Most of these people have been associated with the organisation since its inception in 1973. A field officer receives $120 a week and typists receive the normal award rate. The Department requires an annual audited statement of the expenditure by the Congress. This statement has been received for 1973-74 and it reveals no expenditure for purposes other than those specified in the grant. Basically, in 1973-74 a grant of $10,400 was spent on wages, vehicle running costs, stationery and administration. That indicates that there is some independent collection.

The meetings of the Congress are held monthly or more often as the situation demands. General meetings are normally held only on an annual basis because of the problems associated with bringing people in from outlying areas. I have no information on the actual numbers who attend each ordinary meeting, but these meetings have been held at centres in central Australia containing large Aboriginal populations.

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