Australian supermarkets that introduced the milk levy in support of farmers affected by drought have been called out by Australian federal agriculture minister, David Littleproud, for issues in the plan.
According to Littleproud, Coles and Woolworths failed to carry out the original plan that would have seen all milk brands have 10 cents per litre levy which would be sent to the supermarket’s milk suppliers. His criticism was mainly focused at Coles as he said the supermarket signed up for the scheme only to follow rival Woolworth’s announcement to join the plan.
“The result is a half-baked policy which only applies to Coles’ 3-litre variety of their own milk brand – and may not even go back to the farmers who supply that tiny portion of drinking milk,” said Littleproud.
In response, a spokesperson from Coles said that it was “disappointing that the minister has chosen to criticise Coles – which has already committed over $12 million for drought relief – before becoming familiar with the facts.”
The supermarket giant has appointed an independent auditor, PwC, to verify funds have been set aside for the farmers as promised.
Woolworths has been criticised for applying the levy to the company’s own $1 milk brand only and Aldi for refusing to join the levy scheme completely.