Dairy farmer Shane Hickey made videos about the state of the industry.
Dairy farmer Shane Hickey made videos about the state of the industry. Susanna Freymark

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.

 

Lynchs Creek farmer Shane Hickey's video posted to Facebook on Tuesday has clocked up 1.2 million views and more than 43,000 shares.
Lynchs Creek farmer Shane Hickey's video posted to Facebook on Tuesday has clocked up 1.2 million views and more than 43,000 shares. Marc Stapelberg

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.


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