Where is your ANZAC spirit Coles?

Today this media story ‘Kirin dairy business no longer a curdling story’ is doing the rounds on twitter along with this classic photo from a report on German dairy farmer protests in Brussels 


Back to Oz ‘OUTGOING Lion chief executive Rob Murray said the fresh milk part of the dairy business was in a terrible state and not too dissimilar to the profitability profile of a charity. ”We have a challenge which is the core of the business, the fresh milk business, which is a charity – in fact, a lot of charities do better than that,” Mr Murray said. He went on to say the blame … was down to Coles and Woolworths, which nearly two years ago launched their own-label milk priced at $1 a litre, effectively undercutting branded milk sold by Lion. ”We don’t make any money [on milk],” Mr Murray said. ”The simple truth of that is nobody is making money and you can’t make money if [consumers] buy milk at $1 a litre, it physically can’t be done.”

This begs the question if Lion see themselves as providing a charity service (giving milk away for free) where does that leave their farmers?

Dairy farmers are a volatile lot in the EU aren’t they? There were images like this in 2009 when Belgian farmers continued European-wide protests by spraying about three million litres fresh milk onto their fields.


Back to OZ where earlier this year the owner of Coles Wesfarmers announced “their full-year net profit rose 11 per cent to $2.126 billion and its Coles unit capped a third year of market-beating performances as it stepped up its price war with bigger rival Woolworths.” See previous post here.

Its clear Coles P&L doesn’t mirror that of a charity. Their CEO Ian McLeod earns $15.63 million in salary alone. McLeod’s spectacular earnings are more than double that of his boss, Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder, who made $6.9 million last year.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when they spruik the milk price wars are solely to help Australian families.

Australian dairy farmers tend to be a pretty peaceful lot. We have a lot of faith in the ANZAC spirit of helping your mate out, regardless of the consequences and knowing that your mate will do the same if the situation was reversed. The sense of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. 

The ANZAC spirit of people like QLD school teacher and blogger Lisa Claessen who has organised a petition which you can sign here.

The ANZAC spirit and fighter for all things of value to rural and regional OZ Alison Fairleigh who has an innate sense of what’s right and wrong and what is good and evil in the world.

As Alison reminds us ‘As consumers we have the power to drive market trends. We can stop buying home brand milk, and vote with our feet and our wallets.  We can all accept our personal responsibility for ensuring a sustainable dairy industry for the future of all Australians’.

As a farmer I ask Australian consumers to help us fight Coles where it hurts them not in our fields and in our streets. Lets show them we will never surrender our farmers just so Coles can line their pockets with gold driven by short term vision and pure greed

Lets get our ANZAC spirit out Australia.  All it takes is a signature here.

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

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