Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has joined the growing queue of critics to the Coles Dairy Drought Relief Fund-, saying it’s nothing more than a farce.
The Minister says the Coles 10c/litre ‘milk levy’ and the Coles Dairy Drought Relief Fund supplies no guarantee the money raised will even go to farmers.
“The original idea of a milk levy floated by the Queensland Diary Organisation was that it would be applied to all brands of milk and go back to the processors who supply the supermarkets, so the extra 10c/litre supplied could be paid directly to the farmers by the processors for the milk they’d supplied.”
“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.”
“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’ 3-litre variety of their own milk brand – and may not even go back to the farmers who supply that tiny portion of drinking milk.”
The Minister says he is also disappointed with Woolworths.
“Woolworths only applied the levy to their own $1 milk. 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.”
Mr Littleproud has agreed however that Coles and Woolworths had committed more than Aldi which has 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.”
Coles however says it will ensure 100 % of the proceeds from the additional 30c on sales of Coles Own Brand 3L milk between 21 September and 31 December 2018 will go directly to drought-affected dairy farmers.
The Supermarket Giant says eligible applicants are drought affected dairy farmers, including dairy farmers experiencing dry conditions and/or facing higher input costs due to the rise in prices for feed and water caused by drought.
But Queensland Diary Organisation vice president Matthew Trace says it’s remains unclear who was eligible to receive the funds.