65["The Meat Supply", The West Australian, Wednesday 28 August 1912, page 10]


To the Editor.


In your issue of Monday, August 26, under the heading "Speech by Minister for Works," Mr. Brinkworth clearly put the case for cheapening meat when he advocated meat works at Wyndham. Mr. Johnson admitted "that there was a huge loss in bringing stock down from Wyndham on the hoof." Mr. Johnson also admitted tht after having listened to all the evidence brought forward by the Royal Meat Commission when he was a member of that Commission, he thought the better method would be to bring the meat down chilled or frozen, but he changed his mind after he visited Wyndham recently. Other members of the Royal Commission, on the evidence of experts presumably, came to the same opinion as Mr. Johnson did then. It would, in face of all this evidence, be interesting to know why and on what evidence Mr. Johnson has changed his mind. Does he presume to pit his knowledge not only against the evidence and the finding of that Royal Commission, but against the experts of the world? Mr. Johnson might as well argue that the world is flat as tell us the meat can be handled cheaper on the hoof than by chilling. As for his plea that the capital cost of chilling works is too high, he might as well as well tell some of his agricultural constituents down here, when they ask for a railway to market their produce, "Oh! gentlemen, the capital cost is too high. You had better use a wheelbarrow." In any commercial enterprise what is the initial cost to an ever-recurring cost? It is generally estimated that works can be erected in Wyndham for 100,000. Now, for the sake of argument, let us double this cost and make it, say, 200,000. At 4 per cent the interest will be 8,000. Now at least 20,000 cattle can be put through these works at a saving of, say, 2 per head, or, to give Mr. Johnson plenty of margin, say 1 per head, 20,000, plus the canning and marketing of another 20,000 head that are rotting on the plains of Kimberley every year because they would not pay to freight here or elsewhere. Why, the whole position is too absurd for words. To argue the point is to insult any man's intelligence. If Mr. Johnson is right the whole of America and New Zealand are fools, the commercial world is an ass, and Mr. Johnson is the commercial Messiah who will lead the people to the land of promise and cheap meat. Mr. Johnson talks about the cost of a water supply, but the duty of any Government (meat works or no meat works) is to give a distiict a water supply. It is time the public stepped in and refused to be fooled and hoodwinked any longer. If they want beef any cheaper than they ae getting it it will be through meat works, and meat works only.

Yours, etc., FRANK CONNOR.

Perth, August 27.