A slight milk increase put in place by two large supermarkets is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough, a South Coast dairy farmer says.
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Woolworths led the change on Thursday, when they announced the introduction of a drought relief range of milk for $1.10 per litre.
The range, to be sold from from mid-October, offers additional two litre and three litre varieties at $2.20 and $3.30 respectively.
This follows close to seven years of $1 a litre milk prices, introduced by Coles, Milton dairy farmer Robert Miller said.
Following Woolworth’s announcement, Coles committed to increasing the price of it’s own brand three-litre milk from $3 to $3.30. However, the price increase on just the three litre bottles is only locked in until the end of 2018.
The 10c per litre increase will be donated back to drought-affect farmers, both supermarkets have pledged.
Mr Miller said the move was the “first step” in recognising $1 per litre milk was “not sustainable”.
“The is the first positive news we have had in industry in a couple of months. But, we have a long way to go to get a sustainable price,” he said.
“We really need a 10 cent increase on all milk because just having it on 3 litre bottles is not really going to help farmers. There are more 1 and 2 litre bottles bought by most families.”
All milk producers needed to increase the prices paid to farmers, Mr Miller said. He said he was currently getting paid 50c per litre at the farm gate for his milk, less than the 90 cents a litre it cost him to produce it.
“We need a rise across all branded milk so farmers get a price rise across the board at farm gate,” Mr Miller said.
“We really need to stop discounting our dairy products in supermarkets while farmers are in a drought.”
Mr Miller got news of the price increase early on Thursday morning, and said it was a “sigh of relief".
”I am really pleased Woolworths took the lead on this, and it only took Coles half an hour to respond,” he said.
“But, it would have been nice for Coles to make the first move, because they started this price war seven years ago.”
Corflutes protesting the $1 a litre milk prices were made and distributed to farmers by Mr Miller in August. He said they had now been put up on the South Coast, North Coast, in the Hunter Valley and throughout the Central West.
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