Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir is taking on Coles over milk pricing.
Tuncester dairy farmer Paul Weir is taking on Coles over milk pricing. Jacklyn Wagner

Milk stunt could hurt Coles

COLES Supermarkets' milk price ”stunt” and the highly-controversial coal-seam gas exploration are set to be the hot topics at next week's NSW Farmers Conference.

Farmers will descend on Sydney from Monday for the annual event, which sets the agricultural agenda for the year to come.

Paul Weir from Tuncester, who was re-elected to the NSW Farmers Association dairy committee last week, said members would be pressing the association to take a hard stance against Wesfarmers Federation Insurance, an agency owned by Coles.

“Wesfarmers Federation Insurance (WFI) owns Coles and it's all to do with the way they have treated the dairy farmers,” he said.

“I know some farmers have started to look elsewhere for their insurance. We want the association to take a hard stance against these big companies.

“The WFI issue comes about because of the dairy farmers but also because of what Coles has done to all the major farm sectors in dropping their prices.”

The North Coast branch of the NSW Farmers Association will move a motion urging the association to seriously consider withdrawing their partnership with WFI.

Another issue that occupies a significant part of the agenda is coal-seam gas exploration, a practice well debated in the Northern Rivers.

“There are huge concerns over coal-seam gas, especially around here,” he said.

“The issue is the impact on our right to farm by mining companies.”

Local delegates:

Paul Weir – Tuncester

Terry Toohey – Casino

Kath Robb – Alstonville (Executive councillor)

Jim Crawter – Kyogle

Allen Hartly – Tabulam

Bruce Ralston – Tabulam

Mark Hooton – Tabulam

Jan Mills – Tabulam

Chris Magner – Casino

Gavin Robb – Alstonville

Ken Newton – Lismore



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