Australia's 200 wealthiest people just got richer at 10 times current wage growth

Robert Prezioso/Getty ImagesAnthony Pratt .

It’s been a good year for Western Australian miner Gina Rinehart, with a lift in commodity prices adding more than $2 billion to her personal fortune, taking it to $12.68 billion according to the 2018 Financial Review Rich List.

Packaging scion Anthony Pratt topped the Rich List for the second year in a row at $12.9 billion thanks to the success of the Pratt Industries in America. It’s a new record for Australia’s wealthiest person.

Pratt has more than doubled the size of the businesses founded by his father, Richard Pratt, since his death in 2009.

The 58-year-old Executive Chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries, the world’s largest privately owned packaging and paper company, is now $300 million better off than 12 months ago, and today in New Zealand opening a new $100 million box factory.

Late last year, Pratt met Donald Trump while on holidays at the US President’s Mar-a-Lago resort about his $2 billion pledge to create 5000 jobs in the US.

Rich List editor John Stensholt was with Pratt a Mar-a-Lago when he met Trump.

Property and mining are the two sectors you want to make it onto the AFR’s Rich List, which features 12 new names this year, including Merivale bar baron Justin Hemmes, who makes his debut at 78, with $961 million.

More than a quarter (51) of the 200 on the list made their money in property, followed by retail (22) and investment (21). While just 18 are in resources, they’re among the wealthiest.

Sydney and Melbourne share the honours with 57 Rich Listers each.

In second place in 2018 is Meriton boss Harry Triguboff with $12.77 billion, adding another $1.33 billion to his 2017 worth, followed by Gina Rinehart, banking another $2.27 billion to lift her personal wealth to $12.68 billion. Her estranged daughter, Bianca Rinehart, is now Australia’s second richest woman with $3.28 billion, thanks to her 23% stake in Hancock Prospecting.

Sir Frank Lowy, whose career as Westfield Corp chairman effectively ended today when shareholders voted 97.5% in favour of a takeover of the shopping centre empire by French retail giant Unibail-Rodamco, slipped one place to 5th with $8.42 billion.

The biggest climber was Hui Wing Mau, the Hong Kong-based Chinese-Australian founder and the chairman of Hong Kong-based Shimao Property, jumping from 8th place to 4th with his personal wealth leaping more than 50% to $9.09 billion.

There are 16 new billionaires this year taking the total to 76, with 8 of them women.

Total wealth of the Rich List grew by about $50 billion to $282.7 billion this year, and the cut off increased by more than 13% ($46 million) to $387 million.

This partially reflects the benefit that low interest rate settings around the world are delivering to asset-rich individuals, along with an improvement in the global economy seen over the past 12 months.

That 21% increase in the wealth of the top 200 is 10 times higher than the current annual wage growth of 2.1%.

The full Rich List features in the AFR Magazine on Friday, May 25, and will also be available for $4.95 as a standalone magazine from Monday, May 28.

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