27/05/2009 - 12:50

Rinehart tops WA's richest in BRW list

27/05/2009 - 12:50

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Six Western Australians have made it into the top 20 of the 2009 BRW rich list with iron ore heiress Gina Rinehart taking the state's number one spot from iron magnate Andrew Forrest.

Six Western Australians have made it into the top 20 of the 2009 BRW rich list with iron ore heiress Gina Rinehart taking the state's number one spot from iron magnate Andrew Forrest.

The magazine, which will publish the top 200 list tomorrow, estimates Ms Rinehart's wealth at $3.47 billion, down from last year's estimate of $4.39 billion.

Ms Rinehart, who derives most of her wealth from iron ore royalties and heads Hancock Prospecting, has fared better than her WA counterparts with the smallest decline in her wealth value of 21 per cent.

However, the difficulty in estimating an individual's wealth is evident with the recent release of the Forbes rich list, which estimated Ms Rinehart's wealth at $1.9 billion.

Ms Rinehart was ranked as BRW's fourth wealthiest person in Australia, behind cardboard king Richard Pratt's son, and new number one, Anthony ($4.3 billion), Frank Lowy ($4.2 billion) and Harry Triguboff ($3.65 billion).

Last year's number one, Fortescue Metals Group chief executive Mr Forrest, came in at number eight with an estimated wealth of $2.38 billion, down from $9.41 billion.

The slump reflects a sharp fall in Fortescue's share price from around $11 a share a year ago to today's closing price of $2.63.

Other Western Australian's to feature in the top 20 were Len Buckeridge, ranked number 10 with a wealth of $950 million, down from $2.1 billion, and at number 11 Kerry Stokes with $900 million.

Last year, Mr Stokes' wealth was projected at $2.76 billion.

Property and car magnate Stan Perron came in at number 13 with a wealth of $700 million, down from $1.6 billion, while iron ore heirs Angela Bennet and Michael Wright (16) were valued at $550 million, falling from $1.78 billion.

Overall, the nation's wealthiest people lost a collective $25 billion in the past 12 months, taking the total wealth to $114 billion, down 18 per cent on last year, BRW said.

Politically speaking, former merchant banker Malcolm Turnbull is the only MP to make it to the list, making an appearance at 182 with a value of $178 million.

But the federal Opposition Leader, who is the MP for Wentworth based in Sydney's richest eastern suburbs, wouldn't comment on his net value.

"They have no idea. It is a speculative figure," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It's flattering but there are many people in the parliament that have done well in their business lives.

"Probably few have done as well as Mr (Prime Minister Kevin) Rudd and his wife Therese Rein. I wish them well for it, I applaud them for their success."

When Mr Turnbull took over as leader of the Liberal party last year, he made much of his childhood living with his divorced father in a rented flat.

 

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