A lengthy discussion took place at the usual monthly meeting of the Bathurst Pastures Protection Board yesterday on a communication received from the secretary for the Institute of P.P. Board officials, which advised that a conference would be held on March 25, 26 and 28 (sic), and asking that leave be granted the officers to atend (sic)., and further stating that if the Board decided to allow the expenses to such officers such action would receive authority of the Minister. The circular stated that the Minister for Agriculture would be invited to perform the opening ceremony, but before that function took place it would be necessary for members to meet and pass the formal resolutions to bring the institute into existence. Mr. Valder, Under-Secretary, and Mr. Symonds, Chief Stock Inspector, had both consented to address the conference. Mr. Symonds would lecture upon "The Quarantine Act," and would probably arrange a trip to the abattoirs. Mr. Dodd, of the Veterinary School, would lecture on "Internal Parasites;" Mr. E. Breakwell, Government Agrostologist, on "The Native Pasture and Fodder Plant Problem," and there would be other lectures, including one on 'Rabbit Suppression.' The social side would include a smoke concert and dinner and a theatre night. The secretary stated that it would be impossible to "shut up shop" and all to attend the conference. Someone would have to remain behind. The circular asked that the officers be granted leave. The conference was purely for stock inspectors.
Mr. Kerr : Who pays the expenses of the officers.
Mr. Brett : The Board, as a rule. The secretary remarked that the conference was only of interest to stock inspectors. The institute had sent out a copy of resolutions to be submitted to the meeting, which provided for a minimum salary for stock inspectors of £400 per annum and travelling expenses when away from home. The proposed minimum salary for Board secretaries was £150, so there would not be any chance of his rising above his present salary. The rabbit inspectors were not mentioned.
Mr. Brett said that, as one of the inspectors responsible for the inauguration of the institute, he could say that they had been trying for many years to get a conference of stock inspectors, which would be in the interests of the pastoral industry. Now they had good men at the head of the conference, which had been called for the 25th, 26th and 27th instant. At the conference lectures would be given by the most eminent and scientific men in Sydney.
The chairman : How long will it last.
Mr. Brett : Three days.
Mr. Stevenson : I am not in favor of all the officials going to the conference. In time they might overule the Board.
Mr. Kerr : With reference to the fixing of the wages, I don't approve of that. But when there were lectures given, I think the stock inspectors should attend.
Mr. Brownlow : I think this is more of a matter for the stock inspector. Would any other member of the Board be present?
The secretary said that members of the Board or pastoralists could be present but could not vote.
Mr. Brownlow contended that it was a matter for the stock inspectors. He moved that the stock inspector attend. If they fixed the salaries, that did not say they would become law. He thought the stock inspector might learn something that would benefit the Board. The circular suggested that the Board pay the travelling expenses. He thought the inspector should be allowed a certain, amount and he therefore added to his resolution that £5 be voted to cover his expenses.
Mr. Stevenson seconded the motion.
The chairman : It strikes me that it is fair so far as the lectures are concerned.
The secretary, to Mr. Brett : Is it not a stock inspectors' affair, pure and simple?
Mr. Brett : No. it is not.
The secretary : You have twelve secretaries and one rabbit inspector members of the institute; the rest are stock inspectors.
Mr Brett : That is the reason why we want the secretaries and rabbit inspectors to join.
Mr Stevenson : If the rabbit inspectors are not included, it seems to me that it is more of a stock inspectors' institute.
The secretary : There are a number of resolution to be tabled at the conference, and it is only fair for the Board to know that.
Mr Brett : There has not been any business paper drawn up. Scores of resolutions may be brought forward at the conference, but they may not be supported.
The secretary : If those resolutions, of which Mr. Lynch and myself each received a copy, were passed, the Board will have to pay £600 or £700 to the stock inspector and £150 to £200 to the secretary, with no chance of getting any more; but the rabbit inspector is not mentioned. The stock inspector will receive a minimum of £400 and travelling expenses while away from town. Those lectures are only sidelight for the raising of the stock inspectors' salaries.
Mr Brett : I object to that assertion. Does the Board think those gentlemen mentioned would lend them selves to anything like that? They would not think of such a thing.
The secretary : I think it is unfair and inequitable that only one officer is to receive the benefit.
Mr. Lynch : I entirely disapprove of it because it is for the benefit of the stock inspectors only. I will not have anything to do with it.
Mr. Brownlow : I have had a little more light thrown on it. I thought it was for the stock inspectors to gain information from those lectures. But the resolution fixing the salaries was a different thing. I think the Board might grant the inspector leave to attend the conference and pay his own expenses.
The secretary : I received a copy of the resolutions to be submitted. There are twelve resolutions, each of which is numbered. Then there are the lectures, smoke social, and theatre party. In the first instance the stock inspectors joined the institute, but finding they were not strong enough to form a union, they wanted the secretaries and rabbit inspectors to join. Mr. Burgess stated that he received a letter from Mr. Bluett, the secretary, and he replied stating that he would not join. Mr. Brett wrote back stating, "You have given this matter consideration, but why not pay your guinea, and we will attend to your cases later on." He objected to one man being put on a pedestal over the other officers.
Mr. Kerr If this conference would better your conditions, would you join?
The secretary : Yes; it is only human nature. I might say that it is a good thing for the stock inspector, but when they ask the Board to pay the expenses of the stock inspector, I think they should place the matter fairly before the Board and send the Board a copy of the resolutions.
The chairman : They should certainly send us a copy of the resolutions to be discussed. Has Mr. Lynch got his copy here?
Mr. Lynch : No; I left it at Perthville. I did not think there would be a discussion on it.
Mr. Stevenson : I think the matter should be deferred to allow Mr Lynch to put his views before the Board.
Mr. Brett : The unfortunate part of it is that the conference will be over before the next meeting of the Board.
The secretary : I think it is a good proposition for Mr. Brett to attend the lectures, but not as a representative of the Board.
Mr. Brett : I go down as a private member of the institute.
Mr. Brownlow : I will alter my resolution and move that the stock inspector be allowed to attend and pay his own expenses.
Mr. Brett : I hope the Board does not make it mandatory for me to attend. Suppose I am not in a position to attend it my own expense?
Mr. Webb : I think it would be a very good thing for the inspector to attend the lectures.
Mr. Brett : It would be in the interests of the ratepayers for me to attend the lectures and gain any information that may be derived.
The secretary : This institute is in the interests of the stock inspectors at the present time. The programme of numbered resolutions is to be discussed, and the picnic comes afterwards.
Mr. Brown : It does not appear on the circular.
Mr. Brett : The Minister for Agriculture and those other gentlemen mentioned, who are to lecture, would not countenance anything like that.
Mr. Webb : I think the institute would be a very good thing for stock inspectors.
Mr. Brownlow: I don't think my motion was seconded. I move a further motion that the stock inspector be granted leave to attend the conference and pay his own expenses.
The secretary : I think Mr. Brett will gain a lot of information from the conference, and I would like the Board to grant his expenses. But the institute is only for the one side.
Mr. Brownlow : The shire clerks and engineers all go to their respective conferences to get information. Mr. Webb seconded Mr. Brownlow's motion.
Mr. Brown moved as an amendment that the Board grant Mr. Brett three days' leave and £5 for his expenses. There was no seconder.
Mr. Brownlow's motion was then put and carried, viz., that Mr. Brett pay his own expenses.