Farmers lose in milk price war
ONE DOLLAR per litre is all it costs you, but the inevitable cost to our dairy farmers will be staggering, Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott has said.
Mr Scott yesterday slammed the decision by Coles and Woolworths to sell their own brand of milk for one dollar a litre, saying it was “destroying dairy farms and family-run stores”.
He called on parliament to side with the family-owned businesses and dairy farmers.
“I wonder if the managers of Coles and Woolworths take the time to think about our hardworking dairy farmers, who rise at four o’clock in the morning and work until late night and about the small country convenience stores that are always open when you are short of something,” Mr Scott said.
“Do they think of them when they are buying their café latte on the way to their board meeting?”
Meanwhile, Southern Downs dairy farmers say milk company Pauls was adding a further pinch to farmers’ pockets by refusing to pay suppliers for milk which was undeliverable because of the floods.
One local farmer, who did not want to be identified, said he can’t remember how many days he was forced to dump his milk down the drains and was infuriated he would not be paid.
He said the decision by Pauls to donate 100 per cent of profits to flood-affected farmers was insulting when they could not pay him for his hard work during that time.
“They gave us a call and then emailed afterwards telling us they weren’t an insurance company and they wouldn’t be paying,” he said.
“I can understand they couldn’t get in but then to turn around and say they are donating 100 per cent of profits but they can’t pay us; it’s just not right.”
The farmer said he was able to get a “little bit” of income support during the floods but said he shouldn’t have been put in that situation to begin with.
“I shouldn’t have had to apply for it – they should have paid us like they were meant to,” he said.
The farmer said not getting paid has had a serious financial impact on his family, as they live week to week.
“All we do is pay bills on top of bills from one month to the next. So to lose a couple of thousand dollars – it has a big effect,” he said.
“I know there are a lot of people worse off than us – there are people who have lost houses and lives and that is terrible. But we are all battlers and we all have to keep battling on.”
Another industry insider claims he has heard of the same scenario occurring with several local farmers.
“I think they’re shirking the farmers,” he said.
“It would have been 10 times more difficult to produce the milk in those conditions and they turn around and tell them to tip it out and they’re not paying for it,” he said.
Both sources say it is their understanding that rival company Norco will pay their suppliers in full for milk that was undeliverable during the floods.
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