Graphic design, streetwear, and burritos: A new list of Australia’s wealthiest individuals shows how young challengers are amassing fortunes

canva Richest 250

Canva co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins. Source: Supplied.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart has retained top billing in The Australian’s Richest 250 list, but the enormous personal fortunes of Canva co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins have shuffled the top order for 2022.

The publication’s top 10 list of Australia’s wealthiest individuals, published in full Friday, shows Rinehart in the number one position with an estimated wealth of $32.6 billion.

The executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting saw the nominal value of Rinehart’s fortune decline from an estimated $36.2 billion in 2021, but a phenomenal year for the resources group nevertheless cemented her place as Australia’s wealthiest person.

Hancock Prospecting Group, of which Rinehart holds a controlling interest, saw its profits explode to $7.3 billion in the year to June 2021 as it rode surging iron ore prices.

A buoyant resources sector also benefited Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest, who retained his number two spot with a personal fortune of $31.77 billion.

Fortescue recorded its highest-ever profit in the 2020-2021 financial year, booking a $14 billion windfall.

Iron ore prices tumbled from their mid-year highs due after troubling signals from the Chinese market, but prices partially recovered through February and early March, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sparked global fears of supply shortages.

Another familiar name appears in third place on the Richest 250 list, with paper packaging and recycling giant Anthony Pratt and his family recording a fortune of $27.77 billion.

Atlassian duo Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar came in at four and five with an estimated net worth of $26.2 billion and $25.99 billion, respectively.

Harry Triguboff ⁠— no stranger to rankings of Australia’s wealthiest business leaders — saw his fortune grow to $20.81 billion, as property developer Meriton saw the value of its holdings boom in line with the wider property market.

The estimated worth of minerals player and outspoken political operator Clive Palmer nearly doubled in the year, The Australian reports. The Mineralogy founder and United Australia leader lays claim to $18.35 billion in assets, up from $9.76 billion recorded in the 2021 Richest 250 list.

The eighth and ninth positions are where the list truly deviates from prior editions. Top 10 debutants Obrecht and Perkins, the co-founders of the massively successful graphic design unicorn Canva, recorded a net worth of $15.89 billion apiece.

That estimation comes just months after Canva secured a $55 billion valuation off the back of a $270 million raise.

Canva’s growth shows no signs of slowing down, either. The Australian-born company has wasted no time so far in 2022, acquiring UK data visualisation firm Flourish in February, before contributing seed funding to remote workplace efficiency platform Calven.

Obrecht and Perkins ranked 41 and 42 in The Australian’s 2021 countdown, with a combined net worth of $2.5 billion.

Former Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg rounded out the top 10 with an estimated net worth of $9.1 billion.

The broader Richest 250 list tells the story of an extraordinary year for Australia’s wealthiest individuals, who disproportionately benefited from a hot property market and a phenomenal influx of tech investment.

Notable debutants include Sam Prince, founder of international burrito chain Zambrero and Next Practice medical centres, whose net worth was estimated at $1.12 billion.

Jo Horgan and Peter Wetenhall, co-owners of cosmetics retail giant Mecca, controlled a combined fortune of $674 million — enough to land them at numbers 188 and 189 on the list, respectively.

Australian fashion earned a look-in through Decjuba owner Tania Austin ($640 million, ranked 200); Dean Mintz, founder of luxury e-commerce platform Cettire ($623 million, 206); and retailers Simon and Tahnee Beard, who profited from last year’s partial sale of streetwear outlet Culture Kings to a US private equity group ($503 million combined, 247 and 258.)

The list also reflects headwinds for buy now, pay later firms, whose shares endured a sell-off through the latter half of 2021.

The net worth of Afterpay co-founder Nick Molnar (108) fell to $1.23 billion from $3.2 billion in 2021, while his business partner and former neighbour, Anthony Eisen (99), faced a similar decline, posting $1.33 billion to 2021’s $3.21 billion.

In total, 59 members of the list have significant property interests, while 29 saw their riches grow through the tech sector.

The average wealth of Richest 250 list members is now over $2 billion, up from $1.88 billion in 2021.

More than half of the list are now billionaires.


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