BOTH Woolworths and Coles will introduce milk lines that will deliver 10c/litre back to drought affected dairy farmers.
The new drought relief milk lines are expected to be on supermarket shelves by mid-October.
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation and Kyogle, NSW, farmer Shane Hickey promoted the idea earlier this month, an idea strongly supported by Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
The announcement was first made by Woolworths this morning, soon followed by Coles.
“The people of Australia really wanted this,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Aussies can now back our farmers at the supermarket checkout.
“I rang retailers and asked them to consider a voluntary levy for our farmers and I’m rapt they’ve come to the party. They’ve shown they have a social conscience.
“Now it’s up to consumers to show they want a #fairgoforfarmers by buying this milk. It’s a small investment to keep our farmers on the land producing milk for our nation.”
Woolworths said it had increased its existing three litre milk from $3 to $3.30 until the new drought relief range became available.
Coles clarified its levy in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon. Coles will increase the price of its 3L Own Brand milk from $3 to $3.30 in all states from today until the end of the year.
The 30c increase will be donated to the National Farmers’ Federation’s 2018 Drought Relief Fund.
However, the way in which the 10c/litre levy has been applied has been strongly criticised by dairy farmers.
Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation president Brian Tessmann said while it was a good start, the 10c/litre levy needed to be applied to all sizes, all brands, across all states to even partially relieve the financial burden facing dairy farmers.
“The drought that is hurting so many farmers is nowhere near over, so Coles’ announcement that they will apply the levy until Christmas shows how little they understand the agricultural sector,” Mr Tessmann said.
“To have any impact the drought levy needs to stay on all fresh milk until we know we are out of drought and our farmers are back on their feet.”
Mr Littleproud was more upbeat, saying a 10c/litre may not sound like much but was huge for farmers, many of whom are losing money every day, or struggling to break even.
“When companies and people power combine, they can get great results without government,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The dairy industry needs real structural reform, and I’ve begun work on a mandatory code of conduct. In the meantime, this gives farmers breathing space.”