Here’s some food for thought for whenever you’re necking a schooner at the Vic on the Park next: Merivale head honcho and owner of so goddamned many pubs in Sydney Justin Hemmes is now an actual, bonafide, no fooling billionaire. Not millionaire. Billionaire.

Today marks the release of the 2019 AFR Rich List, which puts the richest people in Australia – and their associated wealth – on full display.

Coming in 88 – as in the 88th richest person in Australia – is Hemmes, who enters the list as a fully fledged billionaire for the very first time.

AFR reports that the wealth of Hemmes (and family) grew by 11.5% over the past 12 months, from $951 million last year to $1.06 billion this year. That comes on the back of Merivale making key property acquisitions in 2018 like the Royal Hotel in Bondi (which Merivale purchased for $30 million) and the site on George Street opposite Hemmes’ cornerstone The Ivy for $80 million.

That’s combined with increased revenue across the Merivale Group that rose by $50 million over the past twelve months, which means old mate now gets to swipe his way into the three comma club for the very first time.

All is not sunshine and roses for the Merivale Group, though: In January there were whispers of a class action lawsuit from current and ex-employees accusing the group of underpaid wages, stemming from a Fair Work Commission decision to tear-up a long-expired Collective Agreement which was established in 2007 and doggedly defended by company management.

Regardless, it’s a banner time to be the Hemmes family. Billionaires. Actual billionaires. Nice for some.

In case you were wondering, the top 20 richest people in Australia for 2019, according to the AFR, looks a little something like this:

  1. Anthony Pratt & family (Manufacturing) – $15.57 billion
  2. Gina Reinhart (Resources, Agriculture) – $13.81 billion
  3. Harry Triguboff (Property) – $13.54 billion
  4. Hui Wing Mau (Property) – $10.39 billion
  5. Scott Farquhar (Technology) – $9.75 billion
  6. Mike Cannon-Brookes (Technology) – $9.63 billion
  7. Frank Lowy (Property) – $8.56 billion
  8. Andrew Forrest (Resources) – $7.99 billion
  9. Ivan Glasenberg (Resources) – $7.17 billion
  10. John Gandel (Retail) – $6.6 billion
  11. Kerry Stokes (Property, Media, Resources) – $5.69 billion
  12. Vivek Chaand Sehgal (Manufacturing) – $5.5 billion
  13. James Packer (Media, Gaming) – $4.94 billion
  14. Lang Walker (Property) – $4.67 billion
  15. Clive Palmer (Resources, Crimes, Asshole) – $4.09 billion
  16. Alan Wilsonfamily (Retail) – $4.07 billion
  17. Len Ainsworth family (Gaming, Manufacturing) – $4.01 billion
  18. Lachlan Murdoch (Media) – $3.62 billion
  19. Bianca Reinhart (Resources) – $3.61 billion
  20. Richard White (Technology) – $3.31 billion

Eat the fucking rich, etc etc.

Source: AFR
Image: Getty Images / Patrick McMullan