October 14, 2018
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has told supermarket chain Aldi to “take a running jump” and has suggested shoppers avoid Coles and Woolworths supermarkets altogether.
Mr Littleproud, the Member for Maranoa, said Coles’ “milk levy” and Dairy Drought Relief Fund were a farce.
He said the original idea of a milk levy floated by the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation was that it would be applied to all brands of milk and go back to the processors who supplied the supermarkets, so the extra 10 cents per litre supplied could be paid directly to the farmers by the processors.
There was now no guarantee the money Coles collected would go to the farmers who supplied the supermarket with milk, let alone be paid according to the volume of milk they supplied Coles.
“Coles never wanted to make sure farmers got fairer pay and made a hasty announcement to match their competitor,” Minister Littleproud said.
“I was initially prepared to give the benefit of the doubt but it hasn’t been followed up with good policy work – it’s an empty media stunt.
“The result is a half-baked policy which only applies to Coles’ three-litre variety of their own milk brand – and may not even go back to the farmers who supply that tiny portion of drinking milk.
“I was also disappointed Woolworths only applied the levy to their own $1 milk.”
Mr Littleproud conceded Coles and Woolworths had committed more than Aldi which had refused to look at a levy at all.
“The big German can go and take a running jump if they can’t be bothered to support Australian dairy farmers,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The best thing shoppers can do is buy branded milk, not supermarket brand milk or better still, shop at independent grocers.
“Personally, I don’t shop at the big supermarkets. They’ve got a lot to answer for.
“The big supermarkets can’t just wash their hands and claim the fact farmers going broke is nothing to do with them.
“The fact is the milk market needs real reform. It’s not working.
“I’ve begun work on a mandatory code of conduct for the sector since the Australian Dairy Farmers group called for it, and much more reform is needed.”