Australia has 16 extra billionaires this year, taking the total to a record 76, with carboard and recycling magnate Anthony Pratt again topping the list of the nation’s wealthiest.
The nation’s richest 200 people, as calculated by the Financial Review, held a record $283 billion in wealth, up 21 per cent on last year.
It took a personal fortune of $387 million to make the list this year, up significantly from $341 million last year.
But the average wealth of Australia’s 200 richest people was $1.41 billion.
Apartment developer Harry Triguboff ($12.8 billion) and Gina Rinehart ($12.7 billion) were just behind Mr Pratt, with Hong Kong-based property magnate Hui Wing Mau ($9.1 billion) and Westfield shopping centre billionaire Frank Lowy ($8.4 billion) rounding out the top five richest Australians.
The chief economist at think tank The Australia Institute, Richard Denniss, said it is no surprise that the number and wealth of billionaires has surged.
“It’s a good time to be a billionaire in Australia”
On the back of strong profit growth and frozen real wages, the share of GDP going to wages is at historically low levels, while profit share is at historically high rates.”
“It is little wonder that inequality is on the rise and the biggest winner from all of this are billionaires, whose numbers are rapidly growing.”