Far North Queensland farmer reveals the wage rise cost on his business

An emotional farmer has revealed the depths of Australia’s economic crisis, with the country’s recent wage rise set to cost him and his employees in Far North Queensland.

On Wednesday, the Fair Work Commission announced that the minimum wage would be raised by 5.2 percent to $21.38 an hour.

While workers around the country have welcomed the move, small business owners now must make tough decisions.

Warren Jonsson, who runs Jonsson’s Farm Market in Cairns, said the wage increase would cost him an extra $85,000.

Camera IconFarmer Warren Jonsson became emotional as he talked about the impact the wage rise would have on the industry. Credit: 9NEWS Today Credit: Channel 9

“It’s going to have a dramatic effect on the whole supply chain,” he told Today on Friday.

“We’re producers as well as retailers. If you start in the store here, the wage increase will affect us to about $85,000 yearly.”

Mr. Jonsson said while the government did a “pretty good job” of keeping people employed during Covid, he feared this latest move would cause more unemployment.

“I can only see one outcome for us, and there is going to be more unemployment, which is very unfortunate because a lot of businesses have struggled, not only in retail, everyone right through the pandemic,” he said.

He also confirmed he would need to pass on prices to consumers to keep up with his growing costs.

“Long-term, we will have to (pass on prices) … if we put it up too much, we will lose customers. We value our customers,” Mr. Johnson said.


Camera IconLettuce is costing as much as $10 due to recent floods. Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

“I feel for the consumer, too; things are tough all around. Unfortunately, if the supply chain’s got to continue … we’ve got to pass these costs on.”

It comes at a time when Australians are already paying more at the till due to the war in Ukraine and recent floods in Queensland.

Mr. Johnson said lettuce already costs $10 at the moment because of the floods in the south of the state.

His financial struggles have also been exacerbated by the country’s energy crisis, with his bills set to soar over the next 12 months.

Camera Icon Mr. Jonsson shows the rising energy costs he is facing. Credit: 9NEWS Today Credit: Channel 9

“I got this yesterday; 35.8 percent power will go up. I mean, is that for real?” Mr. Johnson said.

“We’ve got this renewable energy supposedly; windmills are goigoingor at Coban up there, we’ve got solar, and the price still goes up.”

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.