The Federal Agriculture Minister has thrown his support behind a campaign to impose a 10 cent a litre levy on milk prices to help struggling farmers.
The campaign was launched by the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation earlier this week and quickly gained support from across the nation.
David Littleproud said he could help facilitate the levy as a temporary measure while structural reform occurs in the industry. The money would go directly to farmers.
Mr Littleproud said the supermarkets now needed to get on board.
“I’ve met with the two big supermarkets and Woolworths has shown leadership on this issue,” he said.
“They say they’re on board so long as other retailers are too.
“Coles is more reluctant but I hope they'll come on board. I intend to speak to ALDI and IGA/Metcash as well.”
Mr Littleproud said his department was currently investigating ways the temporary levy could be implemented.
“Woolworths and Coles are sensitive to the impact of ten cents extra per litre of milk on family budgets, and I am too,” he said.
“Consumers need to understand the impact of having few Australian dairy farmers north of the Victorian border would be much greater in the long term.”
“Consumers have huge power here. All those who are outraged on social media would do more for Aussie farmers by paying a ten cent levy than they do by sharing a video on Facebook.”
Mr Littleproud said it was time to support the farmers doing it tough.
“We all know many of our farmers are really struggling right now,” he said.
“The dairy sector in particular is having a tough time. Many of our farmers are being paid less than the cost of production. This is unsustainable.
“If our farmers don't make it through the tough times, they won't be there to supply Australia milk in the future.
“The fact is $1 milk has devalued the milk category in the eyes of consumers by making it cheaper than water.”
Industry reaction to come.