A recent ruling by the Fair Work Commission means the minimum wage for workers will be $25.41 per hour. On this, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says increased costs from the newly-announced minimum wage for fruit pickers are expected not to be incurred by farmers, but rather to “appear at the checkout”.
“We respect the independent umpire; what they’ve done is they’ve kept the piece work arrangements but put in place, overlaying that, a minimum wage, so they haven’t removed the piece work which is very important,” Littleproud stated. He said the commission has tried to “strike the right balance”.
“If there are increased costs, we would expect that transparently, that appears at the checkout and that the supermarkets don’t try and make farmers absorb this as they have in the past. That this goes right through to the checkout if this is what the Fair Work Commission has got to; this is what the independent umpire says is the ruling then it needs to flow right through to the checkout rather than the farmers absorbing the costs.”