Australia’s rich have gotten richer during the coronavirus pandemic.
The total wealth of the 200 richest people in Australia increased 24% over the past year, to $424bn, even as the country was plunged into recession and unemployment soared due to the pandemic.
Iron ore prices that rose from about US$80 a tonne late last year to a peak of more than US$125 last month have dramatically increased the wealth of what the AFR has dubbed “ore-ligarchs” including Gina Rinehart and Fortescue Metals founder Andrew Forrest.
Rinehart’s net worth has more than doubled, from $13.81bn to $28.89bn, moving her from second to first on the rich list while Forrest’s almost tripled, rising from $7.99bn to $23bn and rocketing him from eighth spot to second. The vast increases in the wealth of the two iron ore magnates pushed last year’s No 1 – packaging king Anthony Pratt, into third position even though his fortune also swelled – from $15.57bn to $19.75bn. Hui Wing Mau, the chair of Hong Kong listed Shimao Property Holdings, a property developer in mainland China, was fourth at $18.06bn, up from $10.39bn last year. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes was fifth on $16.93bn, up from $9.63bn last year.