Increased Railway Tariff


An orderly meeting was held in the Long Room of the Devonshire Hotel on Wednesday evening.
Mr. T. PRIEST (District Chairman), who presided, said the proposed additional railway charges would fall heavily upon them as a district, and be felt by all indirectly. He was sorry that more notice could not have been given, but as the memorial must leave by next day’s post there was no time to spare. He here read a letter from Saddleworth embodying the resolutions of a public meeting, and one from Riverton asking for co-operation.
Mr. Faulkner believed the scheme was an imposition, aimed chiefly at the farmers, for they knew that in all probability farm produce this season would be much increased, and the Commissioner was seeking to take advantage of this circumstance. The late Commissioner had conferred a benefit on all classes by establishing cheap railway fares. Now, however, it was said that railways did not pay, and the tariff must be increased. If such was the case greater economy should be used in working the line; such, for instance, as a reduction of the superfluous number of porters employed at petty places just to remind passengers that they had arrived at their particular stations— a work which could well be done by guards.
The Chairman advised adherence to the object.
Mr. J. MURDOCH moved—
‘That this meeting considers that the proposed addition to the present railway charges would be highly detrimental to the farming interest and to the colony generally, and materially injure the revenue.’
Mr. R. LATHLEAN seconded. He believed, from personal experience, that carters would be willing to take wheat down at a cheaper rate, provided they could get back loading; and, should the Government persist in their proposal, he for one should support the carters. (Hear, hear.) He could account for the railway not paying last year from the failure of the crops. In former seasons from 90,000 to 100,000 bushels of wheat were sent from the neighbourhood, and had the same quantity been produced last year, with other districts in proportion, he would have had no doubt about the line paying. Better accommodation should be provided at the Mintaro Station for the reception of wheat. He had been obliged frequently to pitch his wheat-bags down in the mud, and he could see no reason why their station should not be provided with a platform as well as others.
Mr. FAULKNER supported, and hoped, if the charges were raised, that the storekeepers would unitedly support the carriers, and send the railway carriages down empty.
Mr. DOWD also supported the proposition. He could plainly see that if the proposed scheme were carried, it would seriously damage the revenue. This year, he was thankful to say, there was some prospect of their having something to send down by some means, and it was evident that if the carriers took it the railway would be idle. He hoped the House would not sanction the measure, and believed the Commissioner had made a great mistake in proposing it.
Carried unanimously, and a memorial, embodying the above resolution and requesting the district members to use their influence and oppose the project, was submitted.
Mr. PALMER supported the adoption of the memorial, but suggested that two representatives should be sent to accompany the Riverton deputation.
Mr. H. JOLLY did not think that representatives would be necessary. The interests of the Riverton and Mintaro people were identical, and the deputation while expressing Riverton views would represent theirs. He would like to see a rider added to the memorial, urging the necessity of constructing a platform at Mintaro Station.
The Chairman thought a separate memorial would be better.
The petition having been adopted, was numerously signed.  …