FOR many Australians, especially those in the Scenic Rim, the idea of paying a few cents extra for a litre of milk to support our struggling dairy farmers was an easy solution. And yet apparently not.
We have seen so many of our local farmers give up, sell their stock and move out in recent years, simply because they found it impossible to compete with cheap milk products offered by the big supermarkets.
While the public acknowledges that these farmers have been doing it tough, many are unaware just how heartbreaking it would be to walk away from a farm that has been in a family for generations.
We may try to do our bit for the cause by choosing branded milk and tossing a bit of shrapnel into the hat for drought relief campaigns – but many of us are at a loss about what we can do to make a real difference.
An extra 10 cents a litre for farmers makes absolute sense to most right-thinking Australians because it is something most people can afford and the initiative provides a way of getting funds to farmers with a minimum of fuss, considering that suppliers like Parmalat and Norco are in a position to get the money straight to where it can be of benefit.
The latest stoush between the Queensland Dairy Organisation and the major supermarket chains has managed to make a simple concept more complicated than it needs to be and it seems the large corporations are turning our generosity into a marketing tool.
Woolworths and Coles both agreed to put a 10 cent surcharge on a single product line in their fridges – the already discounted three litre home brand milk.
It may be that generous Aussies are being psychologically profiled.
Shoppers who would normally opt for branded milk might feel they are actually helping the cause by switching to the only product to have the drought levy.
Woolworths even plans to release a special drought levy-branded milk.
This was not the goal when the initiative was first publicised.
The idea was to have a 10 cent surcharge on “all” milk.
Just having it on the cheap stuff could send the message that only supermarket home brand milk helps farmers.
If there is one thing most of us hate, it is the feeling of being duped.
Time for supermarkets to up their game and show some respect to struggling dairy farmers.