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Meet Australia's new money, same as the old money



For the fourth year in a row, Gina Rinehart has been crowned Australia's richest person.

The 2023 edition of the Australian Financial Review's annual Rich List has put the Hancock Prospecting executive chairperson's fortune at a whopping $37.4 billion, making her the richest person in Australian history.

Fellow resources giant Andrew Forrest maintained his spot as the country's second-richest person, while Clive Palmer jumped into the top five in what was a strong year for mining magnates.

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"It's a bit of a case of everything old is new again this year," AFR Rich List Editor Michael Bailey said.

"Iron ore prices have increased over the last year, so Gina Reinhardt and Andrew Forrest are well entrenched at the top again…

"Manufacturing is strong or they've been steady at least, so (Visy executive chair) Anthony Pratt is in third position.

"So it's a year for the less glamorous Rich-Listers to have done a bit better than the ones doing weird and wonderful stuff in technology."

It was indeed a rough year for Australia's two wealthiest tech billionaires, with Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brooks and Scott Farquhar both losing about a third of their fortune and falling out of the Rich List top five.

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Andrew Forrest at the AFR Business Summit 2023.

Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, the wife and husband pair behind Canva, also slipped down the list, moving from eighth to ninth.

"There's a few less technology people this year on the list itself," Bailey said.

"A few have come down just because of the re-rating of a lot of tech stocks, and the companies that are backed by venture capital, some of the air went out of the bubble there, you might say."

But while the major tech players might have had a tough year, Bailey said it's not a cause for long-term concern.

"It's cyclical. The technology guys will rise again, I'm sure," he said.

"At the moment, a lot of those valuations that we saw in the likes of Canva and Atlassian, they were bolstered by the fact that people couldn't get any returns putting their money in the bank.

"So suddenly, once you can get some returns doing that, some of the money comes out of the more speculative stuff and it gets re-rated and they get a bit of a dive.

"But they're still fundamentally strong businesses… in Canva's case, still a profitable business. So this is definitely not for good."

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Mike Cannon-Brookes.

It wasn't all bad news for those in tech, with Zareh Nalbandian, the CEO and co-founder of digital studio Animal Logic, making his way onto the Rich List for the first time on the back of a sale to Netflix late year for "well over" $700 million.

"It's a great immigrant story on the rich list," Bailey said.

"His parents came from Armenia, he grew went to Canterbury Boys High School in Western Sydney, bought a failing company called Video Paint Brush (it would later become Animal Logic)…

"Suddenly, through hard work, gets in touch with the guys who made the Matrix films and that leads to his company, Animal Logic, designing the famous scrolling code."

Bailey said it was a feel-good story not too dissimilar to some other Rich List regulars.

"It's a real rags-to-riches immigrant success story, the likes of which (Meriton founder) Harry Triguboff and (former Westfield boss) Frank Lowy back in the day were a bit like that.

"So it's good to see that sort of thing is still happening."

The full 40th annual Rich List will be available on and will appear in a special edition of The Australian Financial Review Magazine tomorrow.


Financial Review Rich List 2023 Top 10

1. Gina Rinehart – $37.41 billion (resources, agriculture)
2. Andrew Forrest – $33.29 billion (resources)
3. Anthony Pratt and family – $24.30 billion (manufacturing)
4. Harry Triguboff – $23.80 billion (property)
5. Clive Palmer – $23.66 billion (resources)
6. Mike Cannon-Brookes – $19.01 billion (technology)
7. Scott Farquhar – $18.17 billion (technology)
8. Ivan Glasenberg – $13.60 billion (resources)
9. Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht – $13.18 billion (technology)
10. Frank Lowy – $9.33 billion (property)

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Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins.

Rich-listers by state

1. NSW – 76
2. Victoria – 61
3. Queensland – 20
4. Western Australia – 18
5. South Australia – 3
6. ACT – 2
7. Northern Territory, Tasmania – 1 each

Top five wealthiest women (combined wealth of $59 billion)

1. Gina Rinehart (ranked 1) – $34.41 billion
2. Melanie Perkins with Cliff Obrecht (9) – $13.18 billion
3. Angela Bennett (20) – $4.63 billion
4. Alexandra Burt and Leonie Baldock (29) – $3.86 billion
5. Katie Page with Gerry Harvey (37) – $2.91 billion

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