We’d all like to know how the other half lives. From designers clothes, supercars and waterfront mansions, the life of an Australian rich-lister is something to behold. But in a year as economically challenging as 2020, how did the richest people in Australian fare? Well, according to the Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) 2020 Rich List, not behd.
Richest Australians 2020 at a Glance
According to the latest data, Australia now has more billionaires than ever before, with 104 Aussies claiming the three-comma crown. All that comes amid a difficult year for the country collectively. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures heavily impacted industries across the board, however, the majority of the country’s rich-listers managed to swell their wealth, perhaps just at a slower rate than previously expected. Even in Victoria, the country’s hardest-hit state, the number of Rich-Listers only fell slightly to 59, down from 62 last year.
In NSW, however, that number rose from 62 to 69, driven primarily by a booming property market, which equated for nearly one-quarter of the total entrants in the 2020 AFR Rich-List.
Richest People in Australia 2020
While there were some new names to make the Australian rich-list this year, it was a familiar face that topped them all. Despite a boom in technology and property, mining won out once again.
Here is a list of the 10 richest Australians for 2020.
1. Gina Rinehart (AUD$28.9 Billion)
An incredible year from Rinehart saw the mining magnate growth her personal wealth by an astonishing 109.2 per cent. Up from AUD$13.81 billion in 2019, the AUD$28.9 billion valuation this year makes her easily the richest person in Australia. Rinehart’s result this year comes off the back of increased prices for iron ore, boosting profit from her majority-owned Roy Hill mine. IBISWorld estimates revenue at Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting to have surged more than 23 per cent to almost $11 billion, making it the nation’s biggest private company.
Business: Hancock Prospecting
Wealth in 2019: AUD$13.81 billion
2. Andrew Forrest (AUD$23 Billion)
Just a week after his investment firm picked up R.M. Williams, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is kicking more goals. Officially the second richest person in Australia, Twiggy has seen his personal wealth swell by 187.9 per cent in 2020. Similar to Rinehart, that growth comes from the increase in interest for iron ore. In fact, the AFR is reporting that at one point, Forrest was adding around AUD$500 million per week to his personal wealth.
Business: Fortescue Metals Group
Wealth in 2019: AUD$7.99 billion
3. Anthony Pratt & Family (AUD$19.75 Billion)
Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc for business, Visy chief Anthony Pratt managed to secure his biggest deal ever in 2020. The AUD$1 billion transaction saw him add $2 billion to Visy’s $9 billion valuation once synergies are realised. Even more interesting, Visy, as well as Pratt’s eponymous American business, benefitted greatly from the changes to consumer behaviour brought on by COVID-19. A boom in e-commerce sent revenue up in their corrugated box divisions, while the rise in home dining saw demand for plastic and aluminium packaging increase.
Business: Visy, Pratt Industries
Role: Executive Chairman
Wealth in 2019: AUD$15.57 billion
4. Hui Wing Mau (AUD$18.06 Billion)
A massive surge in the share price of Hui Wing Mau’s Hong Kong-listed Shimao Property Holdings helped the businessman secure fourth spot on the richest Australians list for 2020. A number of strong deals in China helped the property magnate to swell his wealth by 73.9 per cent this year.
Business: Shimao Group
Wealth in 2019: AUD$10.39 billion
5. Mike Cannon-Brookes (AUD$16.93 Billion)
Co-chief executive of Atlassian, Cannon-Brookes is one of the younger members to make the AFR Rich List in 2020. After a strong showing last year, the technology guru has managed to swell his wealth by over 70 per cent. This year, the biggest contributor to his personal fortune was Tyro, which did much of the heavy lifting in his wealth stakes.
Role: Co-Chief Executive
Wealth in 2019: AUD$9.63 billion
6. Scott Farquhar (AUD$16.69 Billion)
Pipped at the post by his Atlassian counterpart, Scott Farquhar has still had an impressive year. The sixth richest person in Australia, Farquhar has secured a personal wealth growth of 71.2 per cent, up from AUD$9.75 billion in 2019. According to the AFR, Farquhar is spearheading its move into a $1 billion timber-and-concrete tower to be built next to Sydney’s Central Station, anchoring a new tech precinct.
Role: Co-Chief Executive
Wealth in 2019: AUD$9.75 billion
7. Harry Triguboff (AUD$14.42 Billion)
The first of Australia’s richest people to not score personal wealth growth in the double digits, property giant Harry Triguboff still had an impressive year. His Meriton group has built more than 80,000 apartments since launching in 1963, however, the developer did reveal to the AFR that COVID had impacted growth. With a lack of Chinese students entering the market, Triguboff’s serviced apartment sector has been significantly diminished.
Role: Managing Director
Wealth in 2019: AUD$13.54 billion
8. Clive Palmer (AUD$9.18 Billion)
Similar to Twiggy and Rinehart, Mineralogy owner Clive Palmer had a bumper year in the mining stakes. Swelling his personal fortune by a whopping 124.6 per cent, Palmer managed to secure eighth spot on the list of the richest Australians for 2020. It’s been an interesting year for the former politician, however. Various legal battles and an ASIC charge highlighted the already strange 2020 for Palmer.
Wealth in 2019: AUD$4.09 billion
9. Frank Lowry (AUD$8.3 Billion)
The only member of the top 10 richest Australians for 2020 to report negative wealth growth, property giant and former chairman of Westfield Corporation Frank Lowry has had an interesting year. Over nearly 50 years in operation, the businessman has accumulated an enormous fortune, however, the lingering impact of COVID on the retail sector has diminished some of the growth projected in 2019.
Business: Westfield Corporation
Role: Former Chairman
Wealth in 2019: AUD$8.56 billion
10. Kerry Stokes (AUD$6.26 Billion)
A true triple-threat, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes has his finger a few different pies. Investments made outside media proved to be the most valuable for the Australian rich-lister in 2020, with his Seven Group Holdings nabbing a 20 per cent stake in Boral. The move saw Stokes bank on an infrastructure-led recovery, which appears to be coming to fruition. Stokes also owns 10 per cent of aged care group Estia Health.
Industry: Property, Medi, Resources
Business: Seven West Media
Wealth in 2019: AUD$5.69 billion
Who is the Richest person in Australia in 2020?
With an estimated personal fortune of AUD$28.9 billion, mining magnate and chairman of Hancock Prospecting, Gina Rinehart is the richest Australian in 2020.
Which Australian Rich Lister grew their wealth the most in 2020?
Growing his personal wealth by an estimated 187.9 per cent, iron ore mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest was the biggest improver on the Australian Rich List for 2020.
Where does Clive Palmer get his money from?
Former politician Clive Palmer has made his personal wealth from his mining company Mineralogy.