Frank Lowy tops rich list as Australia’s wealthiest shrug off GFC

Australia’s richest entrepreneurs have officially shrugged off the worst of the downturn, with the total wealth of the 200 members of BRW’s Rich 200 list jumping $21 billion in the last 12 months to $136 billion.

Frank Lowy, owner of the Westfield shopping centre, has risen one place to top spot on the list, with his fortune increasing $840 million to $5.04 billion.

He narrowly edged out mining magnate Gina Rinehart, who saw her fortune increase from $3.47 billion to $4.75 billion.

Anthony Pratt, who inherited the Visy packaging empire from his late father Richard Pratt, slipped from first place on the list to third place, although his fortune increased from $4.3 billion to $4.6 billon.

Fortescue Metals Group chief Andrew Forrest was ranked fourth with $4.24 billion, up impressively from $2.38 billion in 2009.

Sydney apartments king Harry Triguboff was ranked fifth with $4.2 billion, while James Packer remained in sixth place. However, his fortune did jump from $3 billion to $4.1 billion.

The biggest debut on the list came from largely unknown Chinese-born Australian Chau Chak Wing, who joined the list with $920 million. According to reports, the entrepreneur is focussed on the property sector and owns extensive portfolios in China and Australia. He also owns the New Express Chinese language newspaper.

The minimum amount needed to get onto this list leapt from $150 million to $185 million, while the number of women on the list increased from 13 to 16.

BRW has also analysed the wealth of the Australia’s Federal members of Parliament, with former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull leading the way with $186 million.

The average wealth of Liberal MPs was $4.9 million, nearly three times as much as the average wealth of Labor MPs at $1.7 million.

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