Plunging commodity prices have knocked Clive Palmer off Australia's top 50 rich list.
Mr Palmer’s estimated wealth has fallen below $US550 million – the cut off for the latest Forbes Australia list – as the value of his coal and iron ore assets fell. He’s not the only mining magnate whose fortune has been hit by tumbling commodity prices.
Gina Rinehart’s wealth dropped by $US6 billion, but she remains the country’s richest person with a net worth of $US11.7 billion. Fortescue Metals founder Andrew Forrest dropped from fifth to tenth on the list, as his net worth shrunk by $US2.1 billion to $US5 billion.
Forbes said Australia’s mining royals have taken a hit from a worldwide decline in the demand for steel, particularly in China.
“The drop in iron ore prices and the Australian dollar’s 6.5 per cent depreciation against the US dollar were among the factors that impacted many of the richest,” it said.
The collective worth of Australia’s 50 richest people was $US89.3 billion in 2014, down from $US101.15 billion a year earlier. A real estate boom, partly driven by soaring interest in Australian real estate from Asian buyers, boosted the wealth of property tycoons.
Sydney developer Harry Triguboff rose to second on the list as his fortune more than quadrupled to $US5.6 billion. Known as “Highrise Harry” for developing more than 60,000 apartments throughout his career, Mr Triguboff is the founder of Australia’s biggest apartment builder Meriton.
Westfield shopping centre tycoon Frank Lowy is the third richest Australian, adding $US400 million to his net worth, to $US5 billion. Casino mogul James Packer is fourth despite falling revenue from Crown’s Macau casino interests wiping $US2 billion from his net worth.
Ivan Glasenberg, who holds the biggest private stake in mining giant Glencore, was also hit by the commodity price downturn, but is ranked fifth with a net worth of $US4.4 billion.
AUSTRALIA’S RICHEST PEOPLE
- Gina Rinehart, mining, $US11.7b
- Harry Triguboff, property, $US5.6b
- Frank Lowy, retail, $US5b
- James Packer, casinos, $US4.7b
- Ivan Glasenberg, mining, $US4.4b
- John Gandel, retail, $US3.6b
- Anthony Pratt, manufacturing, $US3.5b
- Kerr Neilson, investment, $US3b
- Lindsay Fox, transport, $US2.9b
- Andrew Forrest, mining, $US2.1b