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Australia’s $10.3b women: Gina Rinehart tops Rich List

Gina Rinehart has topped off a dramatic 12 months by sweeping to top place on the BRW Rich 200 list with a fortune of $10.3 billion.

It is the first time any member of the Rich 200 has broken through the magical $10 billion mark and underlines the dramatic impact the mining boom has had on the ranks of Australia’s wealthy.

Rinehart was well ahead of the surprise second place on the list Ivan Glasenberg, the South African-born, Swiss-based chief executive of Glencore. His wealth was estimated at $8.8 billion courtesy of last week’s float of the world’s biggest commodity trader.

Andrew Forrest, the head of Fortescue Metals Group, was in third place with a fortune of $6.18 billion, while Anthony Pratt, who succeeded his late father as head of packaging giant Visy Industries, was in fourth with $5.18 billion.

Clive Palmer — who is set to list his coal company Resourcehouse on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in the next few weeks — was ranked fifth with a fortune of $5.05 billion.

While Gina Rinehart has never been far from the headlines in the last 12 months thanks to her strident opposition to the Government’s mining tax and her surprise investments in media companies Ten Network and Fairfax Media, the sheer size of the increase in her fortune is staggering.

According to BRW, she has added more than $5 billion to her fortune in the last 12 months, courtesy of rising iron ore prices and increased production from her mining interest in the Pilbara, most of which are actually mined by Rio Tinto.

The $10.3 billion valuation may even be conservative. Rinehart currently has two coal projects in Queensland under development with an end value of $15 billion.

If the mining boom can continue — and this is largely reliant on growth in the Chinese economy — then Rinehart’s fortune could climb even further.

Another impressive addition to the billionaire’s club is Nathan Tinkler, who at 35 is the youngest member of the list.

Tinkler, who has parlayed a $1 million gamble on a Queensland coal project into a fortune worth $1.01 billion, is another entrepreneur never far from the headlines.

In the last 12 months he has purchased two Newcastle football clubs (the Newcastle Knights NRL club and the Newcastle Jets A-League soccer club), led a $1 billion bid to buy a port asset in the city and invested in a construction company.

But he has also been involved in a series of legal battles, most notably over the collapse of a luxury car club which he invested in three years ago.

The total wealth of the 200 people on the business magazine’s annual list jumped 23% to $167.25 billion, largely as a result of Rinehart’s big jump and Glasenberg’s debut.

*This article was originally published at Smart Company

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  • 1
    Competitive Australia
    Posted Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Glass ceiling smashed

  • 2
    jeebus
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Congratulations Gina, you have made a fortune extracting wealth from our country, and developed a selfish and self-entitled attitude while doing so.

  • 3
    nuytsia
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Perhaps, Jeebus, but I always give her some credit for sticking it to Rose Hancock.

  • 4
    Marty
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    @Competitive Australia

    How is inherited wealth remotely relevant to the glass ceiling?

  • 5
    Son of foro
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Did anyone else notice the report on growing waiting lists in our hospitals? Not that I wish for one moment to engage in the politics of envy …

  • 6
    geomac
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Gina broke the glass ceiling ? She took Rose to court and eventually won. She took the siblings of her fathers geologist partner to court as well. Like Packer the wealth was there already its the circumstances that have generated more wealth rather than any breaking down of doors or ceilings. Still she can generate her own story with her media interests which she was in fact doing before those purchases. Makes the cries of going to the doghouse over common wealth taxes for all Australians seem rather hollow from our fat cat miners. Are any of them normal or even slim in size > Palmer , Gina .

  • 7
    freecountry
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Jeebus, Geomac, Son of Foro,

    I think the lion’s share of that wealth (correct me if I’m wrong) is equity invested in productive assets — you know, companies which employ workers and buy things from other workers and generate taxes and that sort of thing — it’s not necessarily all shopping money.

  • 8
    geomac
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Fair comment Free
    However the miners were the first and most severe to react to the GFC in cutting back their workforce. They scream for skilled workers yet have no solid apprenticeship programs. Its all about shipping in interstate or overseas workers. Some of their ” skilled workers ” that come in on temp visas are similar to the “skilled ” hairdressers and bar attendants that the universities have harvested in the recent past. Fuel subsidy is another area that should be questioned. Have it for struggling start ups but for established mines that are raking it in ? The high dollar rate like a low one gives benefits to some but penalises others. As for equity well there is a lot of foreign money being used not personal , just ask Palmer and Twiggy.

  • 9
    freecountry
    Posted Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    So campaign for a comprehensive tax reform, including subsidies and mineral taxes, starting with the Henry review, as well as the taboo area Henry was told to avoid. But I won’t sit still for the deceptive government propaganda campaign that mining is the big problem in the economy and everything will be OK as long as we bash those foreign rich tax-avoiders over the head.

    If it’s so bad for Australia, why did Swan boast about $76 billion of mining investment in the pipeline during his budget speech? The sector is currently the only thing keeping us out off the banana republic list. Not because they’re saints, but because China and Japan still have voracious appetites for commodities, and because our miners are good at what they do which is to make profits out of that appetite.

    The net effect of the dollar going up is positive for Australians, enabling us to buy more imports with less money, although it shaves off some of our export profits (including mining commodity exports) and in some sectors is more of a headwind than a tailwind. The rising dollar has the effect of creaming off some of the miners’ products and distributing it to the rest of us who import more than we export. Again, that’s not an intentional piece of generosity by the miners, it’s just one of the benefits of having a floating currency and an export boom.

    To some extent I agree with you about the loss of on-the-job training, but to blame it all on employers is one sided. John Dawkins killed Australia’s technical education in the 1980s, as part of Bob Hawke’s “Clever Country” campaign, which sounded great but turned a lot of short tech courses into three-year “science degrees” which made it harder to retrain for a career change.

    Unions have played their part in turning a lot of TAFE courses into 90 per cent memorization of bloated safety standards — which are too complex for employers to teach on the job — but unions have not contributed one dollar to training institutions themselves. Their mediaeval predecessors, the artisan guilds, used to not only set pay rates but also train their own members, certify qualifications, and set benchmarks of work quality, so that they were genuine providers of skilled labour rather than just gatekeepers for controlling the labour supply.

    Miners are not saints but I really am sick of listening to the government try to demonize the sector, even as it goes about trying to claim ownership of their every success.

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