The annual conference of the Institute of Inspectors of Stock of N.S.W., opened with a representative attendance on Tuesday morning. Mr. W. N. Rees (Moss Yale) presided.
The official opening was performed by the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dunn), who paid tribute to the work of the field officers of the Department of Agriculture in assisting the primary producer to overcome his many disabilities.
"Today," he said, "the attitude of the man on the land to the departmental instructor and inspector has changed completely. Where a few yearn ago the stock inspector, for example, was looked upon with some thing approaching tolerance, today his advice is eagerly sought.
"It is the aim of the department," he continued, "to bring about uniformity in administration in all matters pertaining to stock disease control throughout the State. In this regard we look to the stock inspectors as the representatives of the Government among the stockowners. It is not my desire that you should be uncompromisingly drastic in your administration, and I am sure that you deal with lenience with the man who makes a slip with regard to the control of diseases or pests. If he should continue to err after warning, however, it then becomes your duty to take such steps as will protect surrounding stockowners.
"A burning question among stock inspectors at the present time," Mr. Dunn went on, "is that of superannuation. I cannot, however, promise a definition in this matter until that other burning question—the abolition of the Pastures Protection Boards—has been finally decided. As far as I am concerned, I intend to abolish the boards as soon as opportunity offers. A bill to achieve this end was prepared under my direction some three months ago, but it has been forced aside by other pressing land measures. If I remain in my present position, I can assure you that I will pass it into law in the next session. There will then be greater responsibility on the part of the stock inspectors. They will be regarded as the administrative posts in their respective districts.
"I am not afraid," he added, "that we shall be unable to administer the pastures protection districts and the clauses of the Stock Diseases Act with an efficiency equal to that of the present administration, and with far greater impartiality. It is also my intention to effect drastic amendments in the Act in directions which, I think, will ensure greater uniformity."
Referring to the recent serious outbreak of swine fever in the county of Cumberland, the Under-Secretary for Agriculture (Mr. G. D. Ross) said that such a contingency proved conclusively the necessity of a body of trained men to ensure the safety of stock throughout the State.
"The present system of control," he said, "is, I think, possibly the most satisfactory that could be evolved. In some regards it may be described as inelastic, but with the appointment of additional district veterinary officers this difficulty will be minimised. I am glad to announce that the Government has given this matter favourable consideration. A district officer has recently been appointed in the south, and it is probable that further appointments will be made in the near future."
The president of the institute (Mr. James Faulkner) occupied the chair during the afternoon session.