What $2.46 an hour farmer thinks of Royal Commission call
HE'S the Kyogle dairy farmer whose eye-opening story of being paid $2.46 an hour went viral.
Now father of two Shane Hickey has weighed in on Federal MP for Page Kevin Hogan's calls for a Royal Commission.
Yesterday Mr Hogan announced he would be moving a motion in Parliament calling for a Royal Commission into supermarket power and petrol prices.
"The allegations of misuse of market power, unconscionable conduct and the use of unfair contract terms must be investigated by a Royal Commission," he said.
Mr Hickey, who runs dairy cattle at his family's Lynchs Creek property, said he supported the idea of Royal Commission - one one condition.
That is, the government needed to act on any recommendations.
"It's probably a good thing for a Royal Commission to get involved, because for too long the supermarkets have had too much power," he said.
"And it's too top heavy - farmers are still getting 20% less income than what my parents were 20 years ago."
"So it would probably be a good thing.
"But only if the government actually implements all the (recommendations) at the end."
"Otherwise it's just a waste of money."
In August Mr Hickey posted a video to his Facebook account after calculating he had been paid just $2.46 an hour in the month prior.
That woeful figure was partly due to the severe drought at the time, but also the prevasive impact of low milk prices.
The video hit a raw nerve, clocking up more than 1.2 million views.
He said farmers were getting crunched between ever increasing costs combined with ever lower milk prices - partly driven by the market power of the big supermarkets.
It was 20% less than his parents were paid for their milk on the same property - 30 years ago.
Mr Hickey blamed deregulation of the industry in the 1990s on that, pointing out that Canada's industry was still regulated and was perfectly healthy, with farmers getting a good price and production on the increase.