February 20, 2019
Coolabunia dairy farmer Damien Tessmann has joined a chorus of rural voices calling for a boycott of Coles supermarkets.
“I’m just one dairy farmer asking for support through the power of social media from consumers to boycott Coles supermarkets until they lift their damaging and soul-destroying $1 milk products,” Damien said.
“We’ve seen tremendous leadership from Woolworths. It’s now time for Coles and for Aldi to follow suit.”
Damien, a former South Burnett Regional councillor, is the nephew of Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation president Brian Tessmann who has also been urging consumers to boycott Coles.
Damien urged other dairy farmers to take to social media to speak out directly to consumers, too.
The calls for a boycott follow Coles’ and Aldi’s refusal to follow Woolworths’ lead and ditch $1-a-litre milk.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud also refused on Wednesday to back away from his criticism of Coles and Aldi.
Mr Littleproud labelled Coles an “arrogant supermarket giant” saying the company’s comments that it was waiting for an “industry-wide solution” to the dairy price issue was “yet another cop-out”.
And he pointed out that the supermarket had just announced a six-month profit of $738 million.
Mr Littleproud also responded to criticism that he was calling for a boycott of Coles at the same time that he owned Woolworths shares.
The Minister said he had instructed his broker to sell his 25 shares to stop them “becoming a distraction from the real issue of gaining a fair price for dairy farmers for their milk”.
“I’ve instructed my broker to sell my 25 shares in Woolworths worth $756.25, which returned $15 last year. Any proceeds will be donated to the Western Queensland Drought Appeal,” he said.
“The shares and their $15 return created absolutely no conflict of interest and I will continue to bash Coles and Aldi for their poor treatment of farmers, as well as Woolworths when they deserve it.”
Coles CEO Steven Cain told the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday that $1-a-litre milk had been “an important product in helping the chain re-establish itself as the best-value supermarket in Australia”.
“We’re very proud of the fact we’ve managed to reduce the cost of living for Australians for 10 years, which is hopefully what we can continue to do in the future as well,” Mr Cain was quoted as saying.
Mr Littleproud said Coles was “very proud of the fact it started $1 milk in January 2011 which has seen four dairy farms a week disappear since then”.
“In mid-2010, there were 7511 dairy farms in Australia and today there are 5669. That’s 1842 less dairy farms in 409 weeks,” he said.
“In my electorate of Maranoa in Queensland, we’ve gone from having 30 dairy farmers to 15.”
- Related article: Woolies Calls Off ‘Milk War’