NSW Nationals Deputy Leader Niall Blair is urging Coles and Aldi to follow Woolworths’ lead in increasing their milk prices or risk losing customers. Picture: Supplied
NSW Nationals Deputy Leader Niall Blair is urging Coles and Aldi to follow Woolworths’ lead in increasing their milk prices or risk losing customers. Picture: Supplied

Coles, Aldi told: ‘Do right by dairy farmers or risk ruin'

SUPERMARKET giants Coles and Aldi have been warned their reputations could be forever tarnished if they continue to spruik $1 milk.

NSW Nationals Deputy Leader Niall Blair issued the rebuke as he said shoppers could walk away and the ­industry collapse if farmers are not paid fairly.

Last month Woolworths scrapped the dirt-cheap milk, increasing the price of a litre to $1.10, with the extra cash flowing straight to farmers' hip pockets.

But so far the other supermarkets have refused to follow suit and Mr Blair, who has held high-level talks with both Coles and Aldi, said he had enough of waiting around for them to do the right thing.

 

On Wednesday he sent a letter to Coles and Aldi ­directors and top 20 shareholders urging the shops to stop selling milk for just $1 per litre.

Mr Blair wrote that while the issues facing the dairy ­industry are complex, pricing is a major contributor.

"My discussions … have led me to the belief that the contraction of the dairy industry in NSW can be substantially attributed to the ongoing sale of milk for $1 per litre at retail outlets," he wrote.

And he warned Coles and Aldi their reputation with shoppers will be trashed if they stand by as the industry fails.

Woolworths has been the only supermarket giant to increase their milk price to help struggling farmers. Picture: Getty Images
Woolworths has been the only supermarket giant to increase their milk price to help struggling farmers. Picture: Getty Images

Mr Blair is also forging ahead with a new campaign urging people to buy milk from NSW farms and to ensure they are not ripping off farmers by only paying $1 for milk.

"We have got to remind them that this is a product essential for human health," Mr Blair said.

"The thing that really ­upsets me is that we've got people willing to advocate and find out where their coffee is from and check that it's ­responsibly farmed - it's time for everyone to do the same thing for our dairy farmers, that starts with consumers ­demanding that dairy farmers … get the correct amount of money for their product."

An education campaign will be controlled by the state's first Fresh Milk and Diary Advocate, who will lead a Dairy Business Advisory Unit in the Department of Primary Industries

"The simple truth is it costs farmers money to produce milk, it costs processors money to process milk and it costs ­retailers money to stock milk, yet we're not paying enough to cover any of these costs and dairy farms across the state are collapsing as a result," he said.

South Coast dairy farmer Rob Miller feels fortunate he supplies a company that is helping him out. Picture: Supplied
South Coast dairy farmer Rob Miller feels fortunate he supplies a company that is helping him out. Picture: Supplied

South Coast dairy farmer Rob Miller threw his support behind the campaign.

"We're in drought, things have really got tough again for us, the extra 10c Woolies is paying is making a difference." he said.

"I'm fortunate I'm supplying Woolworths, but for my neighbours who supply Coles - they're suffering."


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