AMONGST the conflicting information about how beneficial some of the supermarket milk rebate schemes are at actually helping dairy farmers, Woolworths have announced that their Drought Relief Milk has now provided $4.5 million in relief payments to more than 285 drought-affected dairy farmers across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
It comes as Woolworths continues to sell Drought Relief Milk on the eastern seaboard while it works with the dairy industry on longer-term reform measures.
Woolworths Fresh Food Director Paul Harker said it was clear the effects of drought remain significant for dairy farmers.
“The drought is far from over and neither is our drought relief milk effort,” Mr Harker said.
“The fourth monthly payment was distributed to dairy farmers last week and more relief is on the way.
“We want to find a pathway to a more sustainable dairy industry over the long term and will continue to engage closely with industry to this end over the coming months.”
Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has weighed in on the issue citing that Woolworths isn’t perfect but at least their levy is going to the farmers who supplied the milk and they show no sign of pulling it.
“Coles has finally announced a $3.9 million payment to farmers from its very narrow ten cent milk levy, months after introducing it,” Minister Littleproud said.
“And it’d be disgraceful to withdraw it a few months later while the drought intensifies, the drought did not end on December 31 and neither should the levy.
“Coles must immediately commit to continuing its drought milk payment to farmers and Aldi needs to stop acting like a foreign company with no care,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Aldi has continued to do exactly nothing for farmers, instead it wants the government to introduce a levy.
Minister Littleproud said the big German should understand in Australia, good corporate citizens simply do the right thing, they don’t need Government to impose it on them and at least the two Australian retailers have tried.
“I encourage consumers to shop with their feet for the good of Aussie farmers.”
Dairy Connect CEO and New South Wales Drought Relief Committee member Shaughn Morgan said the extension was vital.
“We’re grateful Woolworths has listened to Dairy Connect’s representations on behalf of dairy producers and extended the sale of their drought relief milk range,” Mr Morgan said.