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Milk levy gets support from government and supermarkets

By Jared Mullane | 24 Sep 2018
3 min read

Shoppers may soon be forking out an extra 10 cents per litre for milk, to give a little extra to dairy farmers suffering through one of the worst droughts in recent memory.

If you buy 1x three-litre bottle each week, it’ll amount to a paltry $15 extra for milk in the next year from one retailer, and even less at others.

The Queensland Dairy Organisation (QDO) kick-started the national campaign, urging Australians to sign a petition that placed pressure on supermarkets to lift the price of milk.

Minister for Agriculture, the Hon. David Littleproud MP announced his support for a 10 cent levy on each litre of milk that will go directly to the country’s drought-stricken farmers.

However, Mr Littleproud advised that the temporary levy needs backing by major Australian retailers.

Woolworths announced its stores would increase the price of its milk by 10 cents on selected products, while Coles has followed suit, announcing that its stores will raise the price of its three-litre Own Brand milk from $3 to $3.30 for the rest of the year.

This comes after Coles pledged $10 million in drought relief in the shape of donations, grants and interest-free loans, while Woolworths’ pledged a $1.5 million donation, as well as ongoing store fundraising.

“The dairy sector in particular is having a tough time. Many of our farmers are being paid less than the cost of production. This is unsustainable. If our farmers don’t make it through the tough times, they won’t be there to supply Australia milk in the future,” Mr Littleproud said.

Australian dairy powerhouse, Norco, has already implemented a five cents a litre base price increase, with many of its suppliers welcoming the surge in price.

However, not all consumers are convinced.

Most of the nation’s milk supply – roughly 9 billion litres in 2016-17 – comes from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland.

The dairy industry employs around 42,000 people, accounting for $4.3 billion of the gross value of agricultural production and $3 billion of agricultural export income.

The Federal Minister for Agriculture also emphasised the importance of public support, particularly those who can’t go without the dairy goodness.

“Consumers have huge power here. All those who are outraged on social media would do more for Aussie farmers by paying a ten cent levy than they do by sharing a video on Facebook,” Mr Littleproud said.

You can view the Minister’s full media statement.

Sources

  • Australian Government, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, The Hon. David Littleproud MP, Media Statement, ‘Statement on Milk Prices’, 2018.
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), ‘Embattled Dairy Farmer’s Social Post gets Supermarkets to Implement 10-cent Drought Levy on Milk’, 2018.
  • Australian Government, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dairy Industry, 2018.
  • Australian Government, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dairy, Dairy in Australia, 2018.
  • Woolworths Group, Media, ‘Woolworths Supports Drought Affected Aussie Farmers with $1.5 Million Funding Boost to Rural Aid’, 2018.
  • Coles, Media Release, ‘$10 Million to Help Farmers Deal with Drought’, 2018.
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), ‘Dairy Industry Group Calls for Drought Milk Levy of 10 Cents a Litre Would Flow Back to Farmers’, 2018.
  • Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), ‘Dairy Co-operative Norco Lifts Farm Gate Price by 5 Cents a Litre’, 2018.
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Written by Jared Mullane

Jared is a journalism graduate who has a knack for writing quality content that's easy to digest. When he isn't simplifying the intricacies of financial jargon and fine print, he'll more than likely be booking his next overseas adventure. Additionally, Jared is a meticulous listener who thrives on helping others.

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