Coles has refuted claims its $1 a litre milk price is sending dairy farmers broke.
A spokesperson for Coles quoted results of an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report into the dairy sector, saying it found no link between the price paid to farmers and the amount milk is sold for in supermarkets.
“Coles does not pay dairy farmers directly for milk, but instead purchases it from a number of processors.
“The ACCC's report on its inquiry into the dairy sector, released in May, found there was no link between the prices paid to farmers by processors and the amount supermarkets charged for private label milk, and that raising retail prices would not result in higher prices being paid to farmers.”
This follows signs erected on the Princes Highway at Milton by dairy farmer Robert Miller, reading “Farmers deserve better” and “Coles, profiteering during drought”.
The spokesperson said Mr Miller’s farm supplied Parmalat, which produced supermarket-brand milk for Woolworths, not Coles.
They said Coles shared the community’s concern about the plight of farmers experiencing drought conditions.
“Which is why last month we announced the Coles Nurture Fund would provide $5 million in grants and interest-free loans for farmers who have a project which will help them to combat drought,” the spokesperson said.
“In addition, Coles is also raising money in stores across the country for the CWA's drought relief efforts, to provide more immediate assistance, and Coles is matching every donation dollar-for-dollar.
“In less than a month, customers at stores including Coles Ulladulla – which is among the top 10 per cent of fundraisers in NSW – have raised over $2.5 million, for a combined total of more than $5 million so far for the CWA Appeal.”