Let’s talk: Waleed issues ‘call to arms’ for dairy farmers

Waleed Aly has made a name for himself over the past year for driving debate about some of Australia’s biggest

Waleed Aly has made a name for himself over the past year for driving debate about some of Australia’s biggest issues.

The Gold Logie winner and Project host has covered everything from Islamic State to Johnny Depp’s dogs, and now he is turning his hand to Aussie dairy farmers and their struggle to survive.

In what he is calling his “greatest call to arms” Waleed is urging people to buy and eat more Australian dairy to support farmers and lift them out the the financial hardship many are facing.

He accused the government of ignoring the issue and abandoning farmers in their time of need.

Yesterday Coles announced it would start selling a new line of homebrand milk with 20 cents from every dollar going back to farmers.

While this is no doubt a help, it is not enough to make a real impact on farmers bank balances, according to Waleed.

“For every litre of milk that we buy in the supermarket, it costs a farmer about 38 cents to make it, and they’re paid just 42 cents,” Waleed said on Tuesday night.

“Murray Goulburn announced it was cutting its price from $5.60 [per milk solid kilogram] to somewhere between $4.75 and $5. A week later on the fifth of May, Fonterra followed suit cutting their price to $5. So now, farmers will be paid about 37 cents for that litre of milk that cost them 38 cents to make.”

Both Fonterra and Murray Goulburn are currently under investigation by the ACCC and Waleed told viewers their actions meant that farmers were being driven into debt.

“Murray Goulburn and Fonterra are essentially claiming that the farmers were overpaid from July last year,” Waleed said.

“They’re spreading that cut over the entire financial year so doesn’t look like such an extreme cut. And when we recognise that, it means that for the next two months farmers will be paid 14 cents for that litre of milk that cost them 38 cents to make. The more successful they are, the further in debt they’ll become.”

Farmers themselves have called for a 50 cent levy on all milk, but Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader are yet to comment on it.

Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, who is also the Minister for Agriculture, has also stayed largely quiet on the issue much to their disappointment.

“The truth is, our farmers are being let down and they are desperate. And if our politicians won’t stop our farmers from getting MilkedDry, maybe the rest of us can,” Waleed said.

While a 50 cent levy on milk would no doubt help farmers get back on their feet, there are those who say despite their desire to help, they can’t afford to pay anymore at the checkout.

The idea of the levy seems to have divided many shoppers with some saying they would be happy to pay more to support dairy farmers, and others saying they simply can’t afford it.

Where do you stand?

Would you pay more for milk to support Aussie farmers? Could you afford the price increase? Should this issue be getting more attention in the election campaign?

  1. Dianne Evans  

    Yes as long as the big owners do not get one extra cent and the farmers get more!

  2. Celia Cliff  

    Yes, as above, a direct payment for farmers not the rich end of town!

  3. Carol Blight  

    50 cents to the farmer? Absolutely! As long as the middle man does not skim the cream so to speak!

  4. David Gregory  

    As I keep saying (some would say “ad nauseum”) the fault here lies squarely with the major retailers, Coles & Woolworths. They decided to include milk in the list of deeply discounted grocery products they use to fight with each other and, as usual, they screwed their suppliers (Fonterra et al) to fund the reduction in price. The suppliers then screwed the milk producers to fund the discounts. Thus it is up to the retailers to bring their selling prices up to a level which will allow all sectors of the supply chain to make a reasonable margin of profit. The consumer will still by milk from them even if their retail price was double what it is now.

  5. Lyn  

    Yes of course! I mostly do purchase the more expensive options, then the cynic in me goes back to the cheapies as I figure the Big 3: WW, Coles and ALDI are ‘creaming’ it off the top anyway! No pun intended!
    If we knew the farmer was earning a fair share yes! After all they do more work than the distributors or resellers!

  6. Russell Boucher  

    Let’s not just leave it to us we need to make a statement so the whole of Australia hear’s it this can only stop when the person on the street buy’s Australian produce and it will take a while to catch up but it will be cheaper in the long run just cut out the overseas competition, The thing that most people don’t relies is that the middle class who line the pocket’s of the importers because we just go and grab what we want because we are so busy, What we need is better choice our super market’s need to have strictly Australia products in the lanes just as we have Asian and so on to give us a choice but the lefties would call that racist WE REALLY NEED TO MAKE A STAND and remember your vote is your own

  7. I have never bought that cheap milk, knowing that the supermarkets wouldn’t be losing out, it would be the farmer who virtually subsidises it and I ám no Einstein. The Australian buying public ought to be ashamed of themselves for even buying it. I am a pensioner too, and don’t tell me people can’t afford an extra 20 or 30 cents on the milk. They don’t mind paying a couple of dollars for bottled water, when you can get just as good out of the tap.
    The question shoppers should ask themselves is. If the dairy farmers here go broke, where is the milk going to come from? Wouldn’t you prefer to pay a few cents more for clean fresh Aussie milk, rather than end up with inferior, germ ridden stuff from China? Holy moly, except for the poor, the Chinese don’t even want to buy their own food, would rather import ours. Think infant formula etc.

  8. Rob Ozanne  

    I only buy Bannister Downs Milk as it is procest and packed on this family owned farm.

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