Norco milk stock photo.
Norco milk stock photo.

Norco calls to maintain milk price levy to support farmers

THE NORCO milk co-operative has echoed the Federal Agriculture Minister's push for fair milk prices to continue.

David Littleproud recently warned Australia could run out of locally made fresh milk unless supermarkets gave urgent help to the ailing dairy industry.

Mr Littleproud wants to see an extension and potential expansion of a drought-linked temporary 10-cent milk levy.

But Norco CEO, Michael Hampson, said there had been "no news from Coles and Woolworths at this stage."

"However we would welcome them continuing the levy, and as usual, we will be passing 100 per cent back to our hard-working farmers," he said.

Aldi has extended the levy due to COVID-19.

Woolworths and Coles do not have an end date on the levy, so it is set to continue.

"Our drought levy will continue in its current form," a Woolworths spokesman said.

"Since September 2018, our drought levy has contributed an extra $43.5 million in relief to more than 450 Australian dairy farmers and payments continue to go out each month."

Coles shared its stance against the prospect of increasing milk prices.

"Coles is committed to ensuring dairy farmers receive a fair price at the farmgate and securing a sustainable future for the Australian dairy industry," a spokesman said.

"Coles is also committed to ensuring Australians have access to affordable household staples, particularly at a time when hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs.

"Widespread increases in dairy prices risk harming the industry by reducing demand for Australian dairy product and making them uncompetitive against cheaper imported products."

Meanwhile, Mr Hampson confirmed recent reports from local shoppers that supermarket shelves were occasionally devoid of Norco milk.

"It does occur from time to time, and is a result of actual sales being higher than what the supermarkets predict," Mr Hampson said.

"Being a 100 per cent farmer-owned brand and company, consumers understand that purchasing our Norco-branded milk helps our farmers and the local community, which is an important consideration for many as they choose which milk to purchase."