Community irrigation lobby group Speak Up has welcomed the federal opposition's decision to anoint Queensland MP Terri Butler as its water spokeswoman.
She replaced Tony Bourke, who attracted the ire of many rural organisations with unsympathetic views about irrigation.
Ms Butler faces a sharp learning curve to understand the intricacies of the Murray-Darling basin given her short stint in a seat previously held by Kevin Rudd.
Butler was re-elected at the 2016 federal election and was appointed to assistant portfolios for preventing family violence, universities and equality. This background would suggest Ms Butler knows water comes out of a tap and in plastic bottles. Her appointment is insulting.
ON YOUR OWN
Coles' plans to buy milk direct from dairy farmers, bypassing manufacturers, ranted the headlines.
Well, no, it is not, as the milk will be processed by Saputo. One would expect Saputo will collect from farms.
Dairy farmers will be paid on the volume and quality, which will be ascertained by Saputo in its laboratories.
Hardly arm's length. So, the question is, will the identified milk from an individual farmer actually flow into bottles and cartons? Given the seasonal vagary of milk flow, should there be a shortfall where will the milk come from? Oh yes, Saputo. And when the farmer produces over quota, where will the milk go? Got it, Saputo. What value will this milk attract? Probably the Saputo ruling farmer return.
Back in the 1970s, we had some dairy farmers with lucrative milk contracts and the cost of production was high when the inputs for out of season production were factored in. These contracts were bought out and dairy farmers compensated by a consumer levy.
The industry must make it clear to those who sign on the dotted line with Coles that they are on their own.