No deal: Burtons Milk says no to Coles business deal


BURTONS Fraser Coast Milk has rejected two business deals worth thousands of dollars with major supermarket company Coles.

As part of a moral stand, owner and co-manager of the Tinana-based dairy Dion Burton said he was not interested in joining the national chain because of the impact it had on dairy farmers.

"The multinational conglomerates have been instrumental in the destruction of the Queensland dairy industry by driving down milk prices to a non-viable level," Dion said.

"I'm not interested in helping them make any more profits; all they care about is money.

"One dollar a litre is a joke!"

The Burtons sell about 5000L of milk a month to about 20 different customers and cafes, including the Foodworks at Tinana and Maryborough.

Dion and his wife Tennile were sent an email from the store manager of Maryborough Coles, hoping to discuss the possibility of selling their milk in his store. The couple were again approached in November via email by the supermarket giant, which offered to stock Burton's milk in Coles stores across Hervey Bay, Maryborough, Gympie and Bundaberg.

Dion and Tennile rejected both offers.

"We didn't even look any further into it than the emails," Dion said.

President of the Queensland Dairy farmers' Organisation Brian Tessmann praised the Burtons' decision and said the "price war" between Coles and Woolworths to have the cheapest milk on the shelf had squeezed many dairy farmers out of business.

"It's true that the whole milk price war is the core of the problem," Mr Tessmann said.

"Good on him for sticking to his guns."

A Coles spokeswoman said the company was committed to stocking Queensland milk so their customers could buy milk produced in their state.

"In 2014 Coles began a five-year contract with dairy cooperative Norco to supply 60 million litres of milk per year for Coles Brand milk in Queensland and northern NSW," she said.

"As a result of the five-year contract, Norco has invested $6.4 million into its plant at Labrador on the Gold Coast, employed more than 20 additional full time people, signed on 50 new milk suppliers and increased its price to suppliers.

"Coles also recently renewed our partnership with Lion Dairy & Drinks to source around 10 million litres of Coles' private label white milk (full cream and skim) from Lion's Malanda dairy site in Far North Queensland.

"The renewed contract is expected to strengthen the long-term sustainability of the Malanda dairy site and give greater certainty to farmers in Far North Queensland."

Topics:  burtons fraser coast milk coles

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