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2-260 (Text)

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That the present supply of agricultural and pastoral labour is far from being adequate to the wants of the Colony; that the rate of wages is beyond what the master can, from the amount of profits, afford to give; and that the demand for pastoral labour is progressively on the increase. The periodical additions made to the flocks and herds of the Colony by natural increase from breeding, demand a corresponding accession to the number of labourers employed in taking charge of them. The annual addition of shepherds thus required cannot be less than 20 per cent. on time whole number previously engaged in the same occupation.
Could labour be obtained at rates commensurate with the profits arising from the growth of wool, the increase of the flocks would still go on; fresh districts for depasturing be opened up; the annual exported produce of the Colony enlarged; and its general wealth and resources in a corresponding degree augmented.
It may be suggested, that, in order to realize such results, wages must be reduced to a rate for which it could not reasonably be expected that persons would be induced to emigrate from the mother country, or that could be regarded as a fair equivalent to the labouring immigrant, for the risk and privations of his voyage hither.
Your Committee have directed their enquiries, with a view of eliciting the opinions of witnesses as to the rate of wages the flock. master can pay, with a due regard to his own interest and the profitable investment of capital. Were wages for shepherds reduced to an average of from £10 to £12 per annum, exclusive of, and in addition to, lodging, fuel, and liberal rations, your Committee believe, that the profits arising from the growth of wool would be sufficient to supersede the practice now had recourse to, either of ceasing to breed stock, or of boiling down the surplus increase; and no sooner would profit be annexed to the pursuit of grazing, than the staple of the Colony (its flocks) would acquire a marketable value, and an impulse and activity be again communicated to colonial enterprise.