The Australian economy benefited from the country’s post-pandemic reopening, but in the past year, inflation rocketed to 7.8%, the highest in three decades. The rise was primarily driven by higher prices of new homes, increased transport costs and long-deferred holidays. The country’s 50 richest combined wealth swelled to US$213 billion, a 70% jump from 2019 when we last published the list.
Miners continue to dominate the top ranks despite several years of tech tycoons nipping at their heels. Amid fluctuating iron ore prices, Gina Rinehart maintains her position as the country’s richest person with a US$30.6 billion fortune. At No. 2 is mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, who is betting big on renewable energy and has an estimated fortune of US$21.7 billion.
In the third spot, with a net worth of US$15.5 billion, is property developer Harry Triguboff, who is set to celebrate a double milestone this year: his 90th birthday and the 60th anniversary of his company, Meriton.
A tech decline took the sheen off software firm Atlassian’s once-lofty valuation, but founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar remain in the top 10. WiseTech Global, which helps logistics companies manage their supply chains, bucked that trend with its shares rising 20% in the past 12 months, propelling founder Richard White to No. 10 with US$5.4 billion.
Despite challenges, the tech sector accounts for five of the dozen new faces this year: Husband and wife Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins, who co-founded design firm Canva, enter the list at No.8 with a combined net worth of US$7.2billion, with the third co-founder Cameron Adams at No.29 with US$1.8 billion. Anthony Hall and Sam Hupert, co-founders of medical imaging software company Pro Medicus also make their debut.
Miners Chris Ellison, who draws his wealth from listed Mineral Resources and Mark Creasy, one of the country’s most successful prospectors, appear on the list for the first time at No. 33 and No. 48, respectively. Other new faces include Jack Gance and Marco Verrocchi, co-founders of the Chemist Warehouse pharmacy chain, which is poised for an IPO.
In the past year billionaires have been competing against each other with an intensity not seen since the 1980s and 1990s as the federal and state governments prepare the economy for decarbonization. Rinehart, media mogul Kerry Stokes and Ellison were in a bidding race for gas producer Warrego Energy, which Rinehart eventually clinched. Forrest and Cannon-Brookes, who jointly invested in Sun Cable, which aims to connect Singapore to green energy produced in Australia, have been at loggerheads over it and it’s now up for sale.
The cut-off to make the list increased to US$960 million, and 11 from the last round dropped off. Billionaire businessman and horse breeder David Hains died in January at 92, leaving behind a US$1.95 billion fortune, which is now listed under his family.
Additional reporting by Karina Barrymore, Matt Durot, Anuradha Raghunathan, Jessica Tan and Hank Tucker.
METHODOLOGY: This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports and analysts. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Public fortunes were calculated based on stock prices and exchange rates as of January 27, 2023, and adjustments may have been made for some stocks that are thinly traded or have a low public float. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country. The editors reserve the right to amend any information or remove any listees in light of new information.