The Australian government has put retail giants on notice over cheap milk and warned them they need to clear up their act, while the competition watchdog is investigating the matter. “We know the way that you get that dollar-a-litre milk is to exploit the person behind the farmgate,” said Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Cheap milk has recently affected the entire Australian farming industry, with dairy farmers struggling to cope with milk price cuts. Fonterra’s alleged treatment of its contractors and suppliers has also triggered outrage among farmers; The Australian newspaper has reported that the company’s CEO, Theo Spierings, might leave his role soon, but Fonterra’s head of external communications GJ Thompson quashed the rumours as ‘completely untrue’. Born in 1964 in the Netherlands, Spierings has over 25 years’ experience in the global dairy industry and was appointed chief executive of Fonterra in 2011.