A meeting of the Mudgee District Pastured Protection Board was held at Mudgee, at the Board 's offices, on Tuesday morning. There were present : Messrs. Macdonald, Head, Jennings, Wilson; the Stock Inspector (Mr. F. H. Whyte), the Rabbit Inspector (Mr. D. E. M'Grath), and the secretary (Mr. T. J. Lovejoy).
In the absence of the chairman (Mr. J. R. Atkinson) Mr. Macdonald was voted to the chair.
From Cudgegong Municipal Council, in reference to the Boards communication regarding the destruction of St. John's wort. The Council had already had the weed declared a noxious plant, and was doing its utmost to eradicate the pest. It asked for the Board's co-operation and assistance in the work of eradication.
The Meroo Shire also wrote undertaking to do all in its power to eradicate St. John's wort weed.— The communications were received.
From Dubbo Pastures Protection Board, asking for co-operation in having effect given to the following resolution :—"That the Condobolin, Coonamble, Nyngan, Coonabarabran, Mudgee, and Forbes Pastures Protection Boards be communicated with pointing out that this (Dubbo) Board's chairman (Mr. James Bell) had been chosen at the conference of Pastures Boards to represent the Central-Western Division of P.P. Boards on the Executive Committee in connection with the drafting of the new bill, and as it will be necessary for him to attend meeting's in Sydney at least once a month, this Board considers that the expenses in connection therewith should be borne equally by all boards in the Central Western Division; and that the sum of £100 be voted Mr. Bell as payment of his expenses for the ensuing twelve months." It was pointed out that £50 of the £100 would be expended on the railway ticket, and that Mudgee Board's share of the total expenditure would be £14/5/9.—Mr. Wilson moved that the Board pay its proportion of Mr. Bell's expenses, providing that the other boards concerned agreed to pay theirs.— Seconded by Mr. Head, and carried.
From Goulburn Pastures Protection Board submitting series of resolutions passed by that board. The Mudgee Board was asked to give its serious considerations to the resolutions, and to submit its determinations to the Chief Inspector of Stock. The resolutions proposed : (1) That the P.P. Act should be so amended that for movements of sheep within the boundaries of a district a travelling statement duly executed by the owner or person in charge (excluding the drover, except when he is the bona fide owner) shall be sufficient authority for the travelling of such sheep within the district; (2) that auctioneers, dealers, etc., shall be required to furnish to the Inspector of Stock within a specified time after sale or purchase a certified statement showing the names of vendors of sheep and cattle, where from and to whom sold, such statement to give all particulars of brands and marks ; (3) that no auctioneer, agent, etc, shall receive sheep for sale unless accompanied by the required travelling statements or permits, endorsed as required by regulation 76 of the P.P. Act under a specified penalty ; (4) that any person or persons trucking sheep or having sheep in a trucking yard for the purpose of being trucked shall if required by an inspector of stock or a police officer, produce the travelling statement under a penalty of not less than £2; (5) that it shall be optional for any board to cause suggested amendments to apply within its district.—The several proposals having been conversationally discussed, between the directors and the stock inspector, Mr. Wilson moved that in the opinion of the board it was undesirable to interfere with the Act as suggested.— Seconded by Mr. Jennings, and carried.
From W. R. Jones, Fernside, Rylstone, applying, on behalf of the residents of Nulla Mountain, Kekooka and Nanango for the appointment of a scalp receiver at Narrango—It was decided, on the motion of Mr. Jennings, seconded by Mr. Wilson, that Mr. Jones be appointed.
From the Stock Department, intimating the appointment of Constable Cove as acting inspector at Rylstone for the issue of permits for sheep to travel.
From Police Constable Lucas, agreeing to act as inspector for the issue of travelling stock permits, at Kandos.
From the Lands Department, intimating that it had been decided that consideration of William Hannah's application for the conversion of special lease 134, within C. and W.R. 18406, Mudgee, into a conditional purchase, should stand over for the present.
From Chas. D. Meares, solicitor, Mudgee, intimating that Mr James Jennings, of Toolamanang, had instructed him to take proceedings before the Local Land Board to recover from Mr. W. J. Raynor a contribution towards a wire netting boundary fence between James Jennings' portion 5 and Madison J. Raynor's portion 132, parish of Toolamanang, and asking for the issue by the Board of the necessary certificate that the fence is rabbit-proof. The length of the fence was 42 chains, and the net ting was 42 x 17 x 1¼ best English A grade. The inspector reported the fence to be a good one. He recommended the issue of a certificate.—The recommendation was adopted.
From D. M. Jamieson, Coolabah, resigning his position as a director of the board. He wished to convey his sincere thanks to the board for having kept his position open so long. He would like to continue his connection with the board, but the state of his health forbade him doing so.—The resignation was accepted.—It was arranged that the secretary should take the necessary steps for the holding of an extraordinary election to the vacancy caused by Mr. Jamieson's resignation.
From W. H. Upham, Gulgong, stating that the residents of Black Lead and to the north of Gulgong, in the vicinity of Tipping's Dam water reserve, were raising money for the purpose of having the dam cleaned out, and making it more efficient for the conservation of water. As the dam was on the travelling stock route from Barney's Reef, Birriwa, Cockaburra Creek, Slapdash, etc., to the Gulgong railway trucking yards, it was asked that the board should consider the propriety of making a grant towards the expense to be incurred. There was £20 in hand, and it was decided to raise at least £30. The dam was largely used by travelling stock.—The inspector reported that the dam was not required by the board, which had Reedy Creek a little distance further on. Moreover he thought the board had no power to spend money as suggested.—It was decided, on the motion of Mr. Wilson seconded by Mr. Head, that Mr. Upham be informed in accordance with the inspector's report.
The Rabbit Inspector (Mr. D. E. M'Grath) reported:—
"Since my last report I have visited the following centres of the district: Gulgong, Uarbry, Cainbil, Leadville, Dunedoo, Tallewang, Spring Ridge, Goodiman, Cudgegong, Ilford, Kandos, Rylstone, Capertee Valley, Narrango, Brogan's Creek, and Bara, and found the rabbits plentiful in parts, particularly on the Talbragar River frontage, and a few places in Capertee Valley and near Gulgong. Taking the district as a whole the rabbits are not on the increase, as they have not been breeding for some time, and I am pleased to report that the destruction has been fairly general. The means of destruction employed are poisoning, trapping carcases for boning and freezing works and for skins. A large number of landholders have netted their paddocks, and are cleaning them out by fumigating and digging out. Others are doing good work with wire netting cages. I saw also that the poison cart is being used to a greater extent this year than in previous years, and the results obtained have been remarkably good. In several cases where the rabbits are very plentiful I have given final notice, and have intimated that prosecutions will follow if the destruction is not proceeded with at once. In conclusion I would like to state that the best results are obtained by the poison cart, particularly in the open country."
The inspector spoke of the difficulty, amounting to an impossibility of getting phosphorus for poisoning. This was very unfortunate, as the poisoning (the poison cart) was the only effective way of dealing with the rabbit pest.
Mr. Head said Lattimer Bros., Sydney, were in a position to supply phosphorus poison. He believed that, as a matter of fact, it was the same with phosphorus as with bags. Some could get the phosphorus and others could not— just as with the bags.
The rabbit inspector said that the stock inspector himself had unsuccessfully exploited all the possible local avenues of securing the poison. It was no use getting any poisons but those in which the landowners believed, and which they would use.
The inspector said there was a small reserve at Craboon, close to the township, which was very badly infested by rabbits. This was a great injustice to the property owners in the vicinity who themselves were doing good eradication work.
The chairman thought the board had no power to do anything in connection with the reserve.
The Stock Inspector (Mr. Whyte) : No, the board has been warned that if it laid poison on a stock reserve and cattle were poisoned, the board would be held responsible. The use by the board of the poison cart would be the most effective means of dealing with the reserves. But the auditors have ruled that the boards could not expend money in that way.
The report was adopted.
The Stock Inspector (Mr. Whyte) reported that there was no objection to the granting of an application for the extension of the term of residential lease No. 708, Mudgee, parish of Eurunderee, made by Henry John Ladmore.
The report was adopted.
The Stock Inspector reported that there was no objection to the revocation of C.R. 16, parish of Growne, county of Phillip, which was not required for camping purposes, but which appeared to be the only access to Ginghi Creek.
The report was adopted.
The Stock Inspector said that he had sought to appear before the Land Court at Dunedoo, but the board had, following a decision of the Land Appeal Court, ruled that he had no locus standi, inasmuch as the board had no property in the properties under review. The chairman had suggested that he should give notice of appeal to a higher court against the Land Court's decision. He had hesitated to commit the board to the responsibility and cost of an appeal. He suggested, however, that the Pastures Protection Board of Advice be asked to undertake the responsibility of an appeal.
It was decided, on the motion of Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Jennings, that the Council of Advice be asked to consider the matter of an appeal.
The matter of the inspectors' salaries and allowances was brought under notice and into consideration by two departmental communications:—
The Chief inspector of Stock wrote to the following effect:—"At the inaugural conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors and Pastures Protection Board officers, the following resolution was adopted: 'That where an officer is solely employed as a rabbit inspector his minimum salary should be £300 a year, with forage allowance that should also cover the wear and tear of equipment. The Minister, although in favor of granting some allowance to the officials in question, owing to the advanced cost of living, etc., would, before coming to a definite decision, be glad to know whether your board has any representations to make on the matter."
The Chief Inspector further wrote, commenting on the resolution of the Stock Inspectors and Pastures Protection Board officials, in favor of stock inspectors being granted an equipment and travelling allowance, intimated that the Minister thought it was opportune to review the financial position of the inspectors, and had decided that a maximum salary of £350 should be fixed, and that travelling expenses up to 12/6 a day should be allowed, under similar conditions to those laid down by the public service regulations, and that a maximum allowance of £100 per annum should be made for the maintenance of equipment, such maximum being paid for the upkeep of a vehicle and two horses, or a motor car, and that a commensurate reduction, if thought to be necessary, be made where less equipment is used. Before bringing his decision into operation the Minister would be pleased to receive any representations the board might desire to make on the matter.
The Stock Inspector (Mr. F. H. Whyte) said he had suggested to the chairman, Mr. Atkinson, that a special meeting of the board be held to deal with the communications. Mr. Atkinson had thought that as the annual conference of the Protection Boards had dealt with the matter it was unnecessary to call a special meeting.
In answer to the chairman the inspectors said the conference had objected to the proposal of the travelling allowance of 12/6 a day. But the objection was withdrawn when it was explained that the 12/6 a day was to be paid only in respect of occasions on which the inspectors were away for a complete day and night. Twenty years ago stock inspectors were paid better than now, notwithstanding the great increase in the cost of living in the meanwhile. He anticipated that under the new arrangement (under which his salary would be reduced from £400 to £350, he would receive the equipment allowance of £100 a year, and the travelling allowance of 12/6 a day) he would be a little better off than at the present. He understood there was a departmental movement on foot to amalgamate the positions of dairy and stock inspectors. He thought there was a good deal, especially on the score of economy, to recommend that proposal. He thought the work of the two inspectors could be done by one lot of officers, though, of course, the districts would have to be made smaller than they were now. The effect of the payment of the suggested travelling allowance would be to make the inspectors travel more than they did now. As it was, the inspectors were frequently out of pocket by travelling, and therefore made their journeys as few as possible.
The chairman said inasmuch as the matter had been dealt with by the conference there was, it seemed, nothing left for the board to do but acquiesce in the proposals.
In reply to a director, Mr. Whyte said he would probably benefit to the extent of about £50 a year under the new arrangement. He thought he was entitled to the improvement.
The secretary said that, as he understood it, the salaries and allowances named were intended to be the maximums. The boards would be at liberty to pay what they thought fit up to the maximum.
The inspector thought the Minister proposed to fix the inspectors' salaries. The Minister wished for expressions of the boards' opinions to guide him in fixing the salaries. The equipment allowance proposed was that paid to all Government inspectors.
Mr. Wilson : That is, I suppose, the outcome of the inspectors forming a union ? (Laughter).
The Inspector: I suppose so. There are some inspectors only receiving £350 a year. I don't know how they manage, I am sure.
Mr. Head thought that the travelling allowance proposed was fair. He had another opinion, however, as to the proposed equipment allowance.
The Chairman : I think there is nothing for us to do. The matter has already been dealt with by the conference. (Hear, hear).
Mr. Jennings agreed. The chairman (Mr. Atkinson) would have looked after the board's interest in the matter. He moved that as the matters had been dealt with by the annual conference the board did not consider it necessary to express any opinion in regard to them.
Seconded by Mr. Wilson, and carried.