Woolworths goes to watchdog to cut out milk middle man: Midday roundup

Woolworths has confirmed plans to buy milk directly from Australian dairy farmers as part of a campaign to demonstrate its concern about the viability of the industry despite offering $1 a litre milk under its own label.

Woolworths said it is in negotiations with a group of NSW farmers to strike a commercial agreement which ”will allow them to trial the supply of milk directly to the retailer.”

The farmers have lodged a collective bargaining notification with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last week in order to allow them to collectively bargain with Woolworths.

The negotiations will cover pricing, supply arrangements and contract periods and terms.

Government to give $200 million funding to boost Aussie start-ups

At least $200 million will be invested into early stage, high growth Australian companies by three new venture capital funds supported by the government’s Innovation Investment Fund.

Industry Minister Greg Combet today announced three new funds selected under the latest tranche of the IIF.

He said $100 million of government funding would be matched dollar for dollar by private sector investors in Carnegie Venture Capital Pty Ltd ($40 million), and GBS Venture Partners Pty Ltd and Innovation Capital Associates Pty Ltd ($30 million each).

Australian shares rise on open

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning, following leads from the Dow Jones overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 18.7 points to 4968.9 just after midday.

The big mining companies also posted gains with BHP up $0.23 and Rio Tinto up $0.70.

The Dow Jones last night closed 0.77% higher, up 111.90 points to 14559.65.

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