The rich get richer

The 200 members of Australian Financial Review Rich List 2018 added 21.2 per cent to their personal fortunes with a collective total of $282.7 billion in wealth for this elite club.

The list named 16 newly minted billionaires, bringing the group’s tally to 76. Making up 38 per cent of those on the list, billionaires will soon comprise half of the wealthy people identified.

For the second consecutive year, cardboard king Anthony Pratt of Visy topped the list with a net wealth of $12.9 billion.

Property developer Harry Triguboff was next on the list, with $12.77 billion, followed by mining baroness billionaire Gina Rinehart, who has doubled her wealth in the last two years, with $12.68 billion.

This trio alone have collectively added $11 billion to their wealth over the past two years.

Mining moguls were prominent on this year’s rich list, although one in four rich listers made their money in property.

Two members of the top 10 are foreign-born Australians, Hong Kong native Hui Wing Mau at number four with $9.09 billion and Indian-born Vivek Sehgah at number nine with $5.88 billion.

The top 10 included familiar faces Frank Lowy from Westfield (number four with $8.24b), property developer John Gandel (number seven with $6.45b) mining investor Andrew Forrest (number eight with $6.1b) and casino king James Packer creeping in at number 10 with a ‘paltry’ $5.25 billion.

Somehow, miner Clive Palmer not only stayed on the list but was actually the biggest mover with his personal wealth increasing to $2.84 billion. Mr Palmer has been fighting legal battles all year but a significant win this year ensured his royalties from the Sino Iron project in Western Australia will keep flowing into his coffers.

Only 19 women made the list, eight of whom are billionaires, including Gina Rinehart and her daughter Bianca.

See the full Rich List at www.afr.com

Opinion: Why rich listers should be in the Government’s crosshairs

More than half of Australia’s age pensioners will run out of money before their next pension payment, according to the YourLifeChoices Retirement Affordability Index™ 2017-18.

An ever-increasing number of Australians are living around or below the poverty line, yet $49.6 billion was added to the coffers of Australia’s richest people last year alone.

Yes, the wealth gap is widening.

The 200 members of this elite club saw a collective rise in their personal fortunes to the tune of 21.2 per cent, and yet wage growth stagnates, Newstart and Age Pension recipients barely cover weekly expenses (if they’re lucky) and the rest of us struggle to keep up with rising rents and the cost of living.

More than 76 per cent of pensioners feel the cost of living is rising faster than the official inflation rate. Around 24 per cent find it difficult to fund everyday expenses.

No one is asking the rich to fund the Age Pension or to provide the $75 per week bump so desperately required by Newstart recipients. But it would be nice to know that these people – and their businesses – are paying the requisite taxes to help boost our welfare system and maybe make housing a little more affordable.

And yet the Government insists on handing the wealthy millions in tax exemptions, incentives to buy more property and charge exorbitant rent, and company tax cuts that history has proven will only benefit their bottom line even more.

Until these people pay their way, the wealth gap will widen, inequality will run rife, young families will never own a home and Australia will lose its reputation as ‘The Lucky Country’.

Let’s face it, the dream is already dead. When will the Government wake up and start taxing the ultra-wealthy instead of retirees?

That’s a question we’ve all been asking for years, but maybe the real question is: who’s really running this country?

The answer may be the 200 on the ‘List’.

Related articles:
Are retirees frugal or broke?
What about the Age Pension, Tim?
Retirees cost of living rising

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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