Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker has praised major supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles for their decision today to provide 10 cents a litre from milk sales to help drought affected dairy farmers.
Mr Hartsuyker said dairy farmers deserved all the help they could get and he urged consumers to buy drought relief milk as soon as it hits the shelves.
In Federal Parliament today he especially commended Woolworths, who instigated the move, for their decision to establish a drought relief committee to ensure that funds collected went straight to farmers.
The text of Mr Hartsuyker’s address to Parliament follows:
Recently in this place I raised the issue of the financial strain that my dairy farmers were under as a result of low prices for their milk and increasing costs due to the drought. I’m delighted today to commend Woolworths for their initiative to introduce a new drought relief range into their milk products. I commend them wholeheartedly. Drought relief milk will be sold at $1.10 per litre from mid-October. Woolworths three-litre full cream and Lite milk will move from $3 to $3.30 until the new drought relief range hits the shelves. There will be a drought relief committee to ensure that the funds collected under this initiative go directly back to the farmers, which is very welcome. I’m pleased to see that the additional funding will be flowing through to farmers, with that added security of the committee to ensure that the money actually gets there.
We often in this place criticise the major supermarkets for activities in the market, but here is a measure that is worthy of commendation. One rider I would put on it is that we have to ensure that this product is readily available on the shelves. I know that when I go into my local supermarket I always like to buy branded milk from the farmer-owned cooperative Norco.
Unfortunately, often that milk isn’t available on the shelves. The unbranded supermarket brands are available; the branded milk is not. I would hope that, in addition to this great measure, there is a focus on ensuring that stock control is such that customers can actually buy that milk, because I know that they are keen to support it.
I commend Coles for coming on board and matching this measure. It’s great to see both the major supermarket chains stepping up and assisting our farmers. It has been a huge strain on dairy farmers to meet the additional cost of feed for their herds so that we can enjoy fresh milk every single day, at the same time against a backdrop of low prices. So I give a big shout-out to Woolworths and a big shout-out to Coles.
Let’s see this new drought relief range hit the shelves. I’m sure that local consumers will fall in behind this measure and support our local dairy farmers. Milk does not come from a supermarket; it comes from a farm, where hard-working dairy farmers get up before dawn every day to ensure that there is fresh milk for us all to enjoy. Thanks, Woolworths; thanks, Coles; and, as always, thanks to our great dairy farmers, who produce such high-quality products.