THE WATER TAX.
Indignation Meeting At Ayr. AYR.- April 10. The biggest meeting of farmers ever held in the Burdekin district took place on Friday night last at the Delta Theatre. Ninety per cent of the farm- ers of the district were present. Even the meeting held some years ago on the occasion of the making of the historical Dickson Award did not ob- tain the same attendance nor did the meeting arising out of which the farmers, in 1925, proceeded to Bowen to load their own sugar. Mr C. R. Crofton was in the chair. The meeting was the usual general meeting of Kalamia and Pioneer Mill Suppliers' Association, but the busi- ness which overshadowed all other business and which was responsible for the unprecedented attendance, arose out of the recent regulations made bv the Government under the Rights In Water Act. Imposing a tax on all users of irrigation waters. Farmers even from remote parts of the district were present almost to a man. Rita Island farmers, for in- stance, resident up to 16 miles from Ayr, especially engaged motor lorries to bring them in. The meeting did not finish till nearly midnight. The Chairman out- lined the nature of the regulations, pointing out that the average imposi- tion would be in the vicinity of £6 per farmer per annum. He pointed out that already the cost of irrigation was a severe handicap. Increasing the cost of production as against other districts more favorably circumstan ced, so far as rainfall was concerned. No blow that the Government had dealt the farmers ln the past was so manifestly unfair as the water tax. Through the Council of Agriculture and the A.S.P.A., they were obtain- ing the opinion ot eminent Counsel as to the legality of the regulations. Concluding, the Chairman said that apart from the question of legality, the imposition was morally rotten. He urged the farmers to stand loyally behind any action they might take as a body to prevent the operation of the regulations. At least 20 other speakers ad- dressed the meeting. It was eventually decided that fail- ing a reply from the Government, the farmers should refuse to take out a license and that the Chairman of the Shire Council be asked to convene a public meeting of all citizens to fur- ther protest. All present pledged themselves to refuse to take out a license. The re- solutions are being sent to the Gov- ernment through the Council of Agri- culture, and copies of the resolutions are being sent to the local members of Parliament, Messrs Bruce and Winstanley.