Supermarket giants cops spray over milk levy support for drought-stricken farmers

17 Octobre, 2018, 09:55 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • The Minister says the German retailer would not even consider a milk levy to support Australian farmers

Supermarket giant Coles faces accusations from an irate federal government that its drought-relief milk levy promotion is an "empty media stunt".

Coles, which was the second out of the two supermarkets to agree to the levy, hit back at the minister's comments, highlighting just how much they have supported Aussie farmers to date.

"It's an empty media stunt", Mr Littleproud said.

Before they raised the price of their milk, bitter dairy farmers urged consumers to boycott Coles until they did.

"There is now no guarantee the money Coles collects will even go to the farmers who supply its supermarket with milk, let alone be paid according to the volume of milk they supply Coles".

A 30c levy was introduced by Coles on all of its three-litre home brand milk products to raise funds for drought-affected dairy farmers to be distributed through the Dairy Drought Relief Fund.

He also took aim at Woolworths and Aldi, the latter of which has not implemented a levy scheme.

"Coles has always supported our Aussie farmers".

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has slammed the big supermarkets. There was a very good reason we called for the levy to be across all sizes and all brands nationwide but that's not what they've done.

Coles has since released a statement rejecting the Minister's comments.

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The company appointed PwC as an independent auditor to oversee the application administration process and verify funds have been allocated to the farmers as promised, the spokesman said.

Woolworths has only applying the levy to their own $1 milk and Aldi has refused to look at a levy at all, he said.

"They've done bugger all, they've done nothing, they won't ever come to the party and help the dairy industry", Mr Littleproud told the ABC.

"Without a doubt, Coles will defend its decision by saying that the levy was to help all farmers struggling due to drought, and that's correct".

Mr Littleproud said he was now working on this, but in the meantime he suggested people consider shopping at independent grocers and buying branded milk.

Coles followed suit, increasing the price of their three-litre Coles brand milk from $3 to $3.30.

Subsequently, Woolworths increased the price of their one-litre self-branded milk from $1 to $1.10, pledging to donate the additional ten cents directly to affected farmers in Victoria, NSW, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.

"It is a sign of their corporate greed that something we are trying to do to help our struggling dairy farmers should be used for growing their own market share".

"We've sent our first drought relief payment to Parmalat and will be working closely with them to ensure relief starts to flow through to drought-stricken dairy farmers as quickly as possible".

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