A proposed five-year plan to make the dairy industry sustainable is perplexing a veteran farmer lobbyist.
Former United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Colac's Doug Chant can't understand why industry leaders and the government need to ask farmers what has to be done to save the industry.
Former Victorian Premier John Brumby has been appointed independent chair of the five-year plan.
"I worked with John a bit when I was on the Victorian Farmers Federation water resources committee," Mr Chant said.
"But my concern is it has been six years since our industry got into trouble why are our so-called experts coming around now and asking what needs to be done?
"If we are paying people who don't know what to do they need to resign."
Mr Chant, 70, said he was weighing up whether to retire.
He said it was ridiculous that a bottle of water fetched more money than a bottle of milk.
"Financially I'd be better off if I went home and shot all my cows and bottled the water they were drinking," he said.
"There needs to be a process whereby there is a fair share of the consumer dollar that gets back to the farm gate.
"It's a great industry but there needs to be some transparency in what the consumer pays and what we receive."
But Mr Brumby, who was appointed chair by four industry bodies, told The Standard that Australian Dairy Plan would give farmers the ear of government to create long-term change.
"One of the things I've learned from all of my years in government ... they tend not to listen to fragmented industries. They'll listen to industries that are united and cohesive around a plan for the future," he said.
"We need to find a way to bring the industry together, really around three goals; to create a road map, for a dairy industry that is more profitable right across the supply chain, and thirdly be more united."
He said he wanted the plan to "win back the narrative, that dairy is a sustainable long-term industry" but he would not comment on whether he believed farmers should receive a higher milk price.
"I think an overall outcome of this plan needs to be an industry that is more profitable right across the supply chain, from production through to processing," Mr Brumby said.
"I'd hope many of these issues would be addressed but we are not intending to be distracted by the intense short-term pressures, this is about building a plan for the medium term."
Mr Brumby, who also chairs the Australia China Business Council, said he believed Australian dairy could build on a good reputation abroad and "particularly" in China.
"Our reputation is important; clean green. So you see that already with some of the milk products we are exporting, our milk powders, our infant formula where we have a very good reputation," he said.
Farmers and the broader community are attending workshops to provide their input into the plan at Colac, Cobden and Koroit this week.