Although we are still confronted with the threat of invasion, the increasing strength of the Allied Forces in this part of the world has probably influenced your decision to resume the Annual Meetings of the Institute.
Since your last meeting, you have been confronted with new problems and have been required to turn your minds to lines of inquiry and organisation which you never contemplated in earlier days.
Most of you have been actively engaged in preparing plans for the possible removal of livestock from any area threatened by enemy action and although we sincerely hope that these plans will never be used, the work will not have been wasted, as it has certainly increased our knowledge of our own State.
Some of you are closely associated with District War Agricultural Committees and so are brought into closer contact with production problems and questions of labour and man power.
The re-organisation of the Department of Agriculture and the formation of the Division of Animal Industry is bringing you into touch with fresh phases of the livestock industries and this will increase as time passes, as the Division of Animal Industry is welded into a compact organisation dealing with all aspects of animal production. The inseparable association of animal husbandry and animal health is thus acknowledged and I anticipate that, as a result, the Department of Agriculture will be in a position to provide greater services to the State.
On the disease side, the most spectacular item which has occurred recently is the outbreak of Swine Fever. This is an indication of the influence of war in spreading disease and demonstrates the necessity of maintaining a strong animal health service in this country.
It is pleasing to be able to say that the position in regard to Swine Fever is so much more hopeful than could have been anticipated three months ago. Drastic action was necessary and was not spared.
The rabbit problem is causing all of us some anxiety and is so intimately linked up with man power questions and thus has such widespread repercussions, that a satisfactory solution is not readily envisaged.
Notwithstanding that we may have before us a long period of bitter struggle, we cannot shut our eyes to the desirability of planning for the period after the war and in working out the solution of rural reconstruction—a most vital matter to Australia — men with your experience should be able to play a part.
Although a number of your colleagues are serving in the Forces, particularly as officers of the A.A.V.C., it has been found necessary to require that others amongst you should continue in your civil occupations because of the necessity of maintaining food production. By doing more than a full day's work you may feel that you are making up for not being allowed to serve in the Armed Forces.