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'Just 10 Cents': Farmers Storm Coles Over $1 Milk Protest

Queensland dairy farmers have converged on Coles to demand the supermarket stops selling $1 milk.

The group of protesters gathered outside a Brisbane Coles, carrying placards reading "it's just 10 cents".

Others have now entered the building holding up signs in front of the milk stand proclaiming "Coles Robbing Farmers".

The protest comes less than a month after supermarket rival Woolworths announced it would no longer sell milk for $1 per litre.

Woolworths said it would raise its prices, with the increase going to struggling dairy farmers.

Matthew Trace from the Sunshine Coast has been running the dairy farm  his parents first started in 1968 with his family.

He said Woolworths has led the way with the increase in prices and said increasing the price of milk by 10 cents could mean between six to seven thousand dollars a month for some farmers.

"Industry has said they will be happy if Coles will match Woolies," Trace told 10 News First.

"This is a short term solution to save our industry which is on its knees right now".

Fellow dairy farmer Greg Teese said protesters converged on Coles today because the current system had gone on for "too long" with the heat and dry weather taking even more of a toll on farmers.

"They're milking farmers dry," Teese told 10 News First.

"We're here to tell Coles it's about time they got their act together... it's just not feasible anymore".

Image: 10 News First

In September  2018, the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation launched a petition calling on major supermarkets to hike retail prices by 10 cents, and send the money to farmers.

READ MORE: Woolworths Axes $1 Milk In Effort To Help Farmers

"We need 10 cents extra per litre to survive, to feed our animals and to feed ourselves," farmer Tony Biffin, who runs a property outside Sydney, told 10 daily at the time.

Farmers say even a 10c increase to the price of milk could be the difference between staying and walking away from their dairy. Image: 10 News First

READ MORE: Milk Levy For Dairy Farmers Could Go Ahead As A 'Temporary Measure'

At the time of Woolworths' announcement, federal agriculture minister David Littleproud called on other supermarkets to follow suit.

“Whilst I wish Woolworths was taking a much bigger step, they’re miles head of their competitors," Littleproud said at the time.

“Coles and Aldi continue to sell milk at $1. This drives down prices to farmers. Supermarkets can’t pretend selling milk cheap doesn’t hurt farmers and they’ve got to be called out on this rubbish."

In a statement to 10 News First a spokesperson said Coles had pledged more than $16 million to its various drought relief funds in the last nine months.

"As a result of these Coles funds, more than 2600 drought-affected farmers across Australia have already received CWA grants and an additional 639 dairy farmers have received payments from the Coles Dairy Drought Relief Fund," the spokesperson said.

"On top of this, Coles continues to support drought-affected farmers by raising funds for the CWA Drought Appeal and matching all customer donations made at our check-outs dollar for dollar.”

Featured Image: 10 News First

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au