ABOUT TIME: Glenore Grove dairy farmer Luke Stock said Woolworths announcement it would end $1/L milk was positive, but a lot more was needed to save the struggling dairy industry.
ABOUT TIME: Glenore Grove dairy farmer Luke Stock said Woolworths announcement it would end $1/L milk was positive, but a lot more was needed to save the struggling dairy industry. Dominic Elsome

Farmer calls for Coles, Aldi to catch up on milk price

DAIRY farmers have described feeling like they have been used as "pawns” by supermarket giants.

But after eight years of the supermarket milk price wars, the situation might finally be changing.

Woolworths announced Monday it would be ending its $1/L house brand milk on Monday, something the dairy industry has been fighting for eight years to achieve.

Glenore Grove dairy farmer Luke Stock said the decision was a step in the right direction, but there was still a long way to go.

"I certainly wouldn't applaud Woolworths, but I think they needed to be congratulated for taking the leap forward after eight years of $1/litre milk,” Mr Stock said.

But he warned the industry would still be in trouble unless Coles and Aldi followed suit

He said a 10c increase was a "minimum”.

"They all need to jump on board,” he said.

"It will be up to the consumer and the general public to pressure Coles in catching up.”

Coles has so far resisted calls to follow suit.

A Coles spokesperson said the supermarket giant was passionate about supporting farmers and producers and was committed to finding a better model.

However the spokesperson said many customers in Australia faced cost-of-living pressures.

"Coles is seeking a long-term solution that does not disadvantage our customers and supports our dairy farmers,” they said.

Mr Stock disagreed.

"I can understand where they're coming from, absolutely, there is certainly people struggling,” he said.

"But if you look at all the surveys, and if you look back through social media, the majority of consumers all seem more than willing to pay more for milk.”

While the news is welcome relief for some, the past eight years have left many farmers frustrated and angry.

Mr Stock said it was disappointing change had taken this long and the industry had suffered as a consequence.

"We've lost of good industry representatives and a lot of good farmers, with a lot of generational knowledge,” he said.

"It's disappointing the supermarkets have used us essentially as a pawn in a game of chess.

"They've just used us a marketing ploy to get people into the store.”

He also thanked those who had campaigned for the industry, including state member for Lockyer Jim McDonald and federal member for Wright Scott Buchholz.

"Credit where credit is due, they've been knocking on the right doors obviously,” he said.



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