Politicians question milk prices

THERE is bipartisan support for dairy farmers worried about the supermarket discount milk wars.

Both Page MP Janelle Saffin and MP for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker raised concerns about the milk price discounting by Coles in Federal Parliament on Monday.

Ms Saffin said she shared the concerns of many locals, including those in the dairy industry, about what the price cutting could mean for the industry and consumers in the long term.

“I have made representations to the Agriculture Minister, Joe Ludwig, raising concerns about Coles supermarkets' discounting of milk prices,” Ms Saffin said.

“I have had talks with the local agricultural co-op, Norco, about how the discounting could impact on the local industry, and I am pleased Norco has put their case to the Senate Economics Committee's inquiry into the milk discounting issue.”

Mr Hartsuyker repeated his call for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to investigate the price wars.

On Monday night, Mr Hartsuyker supported a Coalition motion for an ACCC investigation and questioned the motives of Coles, which started selling milk at $1 a litre in January.

“This is an issue about sustainability of the dairy industry and indeed the future of thousands of Australian dairy farmers,” he said.

“It is also an issue about the integrity of Australia's competition policy principles and – more specifically – the action by Coles to increase their market share.”

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