Agenda Revealed

Senator Andrew Bartlett, who claims to be an “environmentalist”, accidentally lets the cat out of the bag in his latest water post.

According to The Courier-Mail, the Coca-Cola factory at Richlands is one of Brisbane’s top 10 water users. I’m not sure market forces would work with Coke somehow, as you could raise the price of water one hundredfold and they’d probably still make a profit selling it for the same price they are now, although they might have to reduce their advertising budget by 0.1% to cover the extra cost.

But Andrew, I thought the point was to save water, not to reduce the profits of Coca-Cola? There are of course many more water-intensive industries than Coca-Cola (for example: Just about all of them) which WOULD be significantly affected by increasing the price of water, but not all of them are evil, profitable multinationals, so they don’t rate a mention.

A lot of people who really just hate commerce like to hide behind the facade of environmentalism. And Andrew Bartlett is most definitely one of them. Scratch an environmentalist and you find a socialist a majority of the time.

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18 Comments on “Agenda Revealed”

  1. hc Says:

    Fair comment Yobbo but you could suppose that he meant to say: ‘Coke would have no incentives with a water price increase to reduce their output and hence to reduce their use of water’. His reasoning might be that water costs are such a low part of total costs.

    Even so I think this latter statement, while not showing outright anti-business attitudes, is probably wrong. If water was pricey enough they would reduce use.

  2. A pretty pathetic and very long bow, Yobbo. Especially on a post which argues for using market forces to beter control water usage, rather than just picking on a ‘bad guy’ of the month like cotton or rice.

    The “accidental” comment you highlight was more a shot at how little of Coke’s costs would lie in water anyway, as HC was insightful enough to notice. although, more than anything it was more a throw away comment at how huge Coke’s advertising budget would be, compared to their water costs.

    It was the multi-national hating, profit loathing Murodch owned Courier-Mail which brought up Coke and their water usage, not me. If you’re going to do knee-jerk selective quotations of people to reinforce your prejudices and stereotypes, there’s plenty better examples than this one to use.

  3. leftvegdrunk Says:

    Yobbo, I read the comment in context and didn’t see the implied socialism you did. Perhaps you are reading what you want to read rather than what is written.

  4. yobbo Says:

    “Oh, The Courier Mail hat profits too!”.

    So do the hippies at my uni, but they aren’t senators either.

  5. more than anything it was more a throw away comment at how huge Coke’s advertising budget would be, compared to their water costs.

    One wonders why the size of Coke’s marketing budget would be at all relevant in a post concerned with saving water. The implied disapproval is pretty clear.

  6. leftvegdrunk Says:

    James, I think you’re on the wrong track, too. Bartlett was simply pointing out that a market solution may not be effective when it comes to water use and large companies. I guess anyone who dares suggest that the market may not be the answer to a given problem deserves to be derided as an evil commie. You just keep swatting those dreaded collectivists.

  7. Why am I on the wrong track? I was simply pointing out that Bartlett’s mentioning of the wholly irrelevant issue of Coke’s (woo! evil multinational!) marketing budget (woo! evil market forces at work!) is more than a little instructive. Why does this make me “on the wrong track”? By the way, simply restating Bartlett’s position isn’t helpful. I understood him the first time around.

    As for the collectivists; don’t know about dreaded, but they are pretty dreadful.

  8. The Don Says:

    I think the key point here, which is a major issue in Queensland, is that raising the price of water is unlikely to impact major international corporations like Coke, but is more likely to send the smaller, generally domestically owned cotton and rice growers broke, costing local jobs and not really impacting on corporate profits.

    The most likely outcome from an increase in water prices would be major corporations like Coke moving their operations elsewhere and importing product like they do in Europe (costing local jobs) and smaller domestically owned companies also suffering.

    The end game would be a reduction in water use but at the cost of the local economy. The same arguement exisits for the impact of carbon trading on domestic companies. The balance between economic cost and longer term benefit needs to be met.

    Sure we could remove industrial use of water by overcharging for it but that would most likely create job losses and a weaker economy. Perhaps using some of the signfiicant revenues generated by the coal industry in Queensland can be used to build pipelines from Tropical areas of the state to supply the general public rather than just the coal industry itself. (see the Burdekin Falls project)

  9. yobbo Says:

    Hayden, Just because the price of water is expensive in one area doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be the same price all over Australia.

    Industry could relocate to areas where water is plentiful (Like the Ord River Catchment, Esperance or Tasmania) to save costs. As an added bonus this could go some way to relieving the increased population pressure on our capital cities – by creating new cities where before the population was insufficient.

    The rainfall in Albany can support a lot more people than Perth’s can.

  10. yobbo Says:

    And if unviable industries like Cotton and Rice can’t survive without subsidised water (or their other subsidies) and go broke, then it doesn’t necessarily follow that this will cost jobs in the long term.

    The money saved by no longer having to protect these industries with public money can be converted into tax cuts, which will have the effect of replacing the lost jobs (albeit in a different industry).

    A lot of blacksmiths went broke when cars became popular too. Blacksmiths didn’t all neck themselves though, they just went and did something else.

  11. yobbo Says:

    (And you should know that better than anyone).

  12. The Don Says:


    It is true and it would certainly be beneficial to Australia to relocate a significant proportion of industry away from capital cities. Although the capital cost to do so may result in a move offshore (south east asia or india for example) being more economic and resulting in our already weak manufacturing sector becoming even weaker and our trade deficit worsening even further (we certainly don’t want to end up a poor cousin to the US on that note)

    Furthermore the loss of jobs from the abandoned region is unlikely to assist Senators from that region to be re-elected… but that is another arguement all together.

  13. The Don Says:

    Your arguements are valid, however, why not use the taxes and royalties being created from large corporations using our water now to subsidise the major infrastructure spend that is required to support the less profitable local industries rather than removing both and hoping that the more expensive water will create an economic opportunity for someone to replace those lost jobs?

  14. yobbo Says:

    Because Tax cuts will not only create more domestic jobs in already existing companies but also make Australia a more attractive proposition for any foreign companies considering new investments.

    And the other reason is that water is a finite resource within a certain area. The fact that companies in Sydney will be paying a lot of water usage fees won’t change the fact that there simply isn’t enough water there to support current usage. Then on the flip side 95% of the country is undeveloped and a fair amount of those undeveloped areas have plenty of water.

    The change will eventually have to happen sometime, we simply can’t fit many more people than there already are in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne because of lack of water (and space). If Australia’s population is to keep increasing then the majority of population growth needs to occur in regional areas that are currently underpopulated.

  15. JB Says:

    strangely I agree with sam that “if Australia’s population is to keep increasing then the majority of population growth needs to occur in regional areas that are currently underpopulated.”

    maybe tax cuts to those willing to relocate to regional Australia like they did in the 60’s for those living in the north i.e. mining regions would again be the answer.

    but more to the point people will keep living in our cities and it is a fact that in the past 20 years no major project has been undertaken to hold/produce water until the desalination project here in Perth. During that period our population has gone up 5 million approx. No wonder we are short of water.

    Taxing coke for water usage…..bit silly…

  16. Philip Says:

    It is not any surprise Andrew does not like coca cola. Isn’t Andrew the guy who beats up women to snatch the wine bottles off them during drunken parties at parliament house? I am sure he would not get so upset about a winery using water.

  17. Eric Says:

    The 3.5 litres for one litre of Coke is a pretty selective figure. Some plants do take that much (some take more). But the ones I visit in China do it for about one to one (they use air cleaning technology rather than water). Coke is a leader in the beverage sector in cutting down on water usage. Articles like the one you cited are based on some once-heard figures and not on any research. If he’d bothered to ring Coca-Cola he’d have heard all this.

  18. c8to Says:

    we call them watermelons…

    green on the outside red on the inside…

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