After making the rich list for 27 years, shopping centre magnate Frank Lowy has finally hit the No.1 spot.
The chief of Westfield shopping centres, valued at $5.04 billion, is the top ranked Australian in the 2010 BRW list of Australia's richest 200 people, released today.
Mr Lowy, moving up from the No.2 spot last year, displaced Pratt family scion Anthony who had $4.6 billion, up from $4.3 billion a year ago. Mr Pratt dropped two places to No.3.
The top earners all boosted their fortunes, although media and casino mogul James Packer, at No. 6, and mining giant Clive Palmer, who came in seventh, were placed outside the top five due to smaller increases in their wealth.
Despite the unveiling of the controversial resource super profits tax, miners are still worth a combined $7.9 billion more than they were a year ago, said BRW editor-in-chief Sean Aylmer. BRW is owned by Fairfax, publisher of this site.
“Notwithstanding all the concerns about resources profits taxes, the miners are still doing pretty well,” he said.
A fortune from resources, propelled mostly by demand from China, lifted iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart to the No.2 spot with $4.75 billion, from $3.47 billion when she was in the No.4 spot last year.
Fortescue Metals Group's Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest was No.4 with $4.24 billion, up from eighth spot.
The announcement of the mining tax, although not obliterating the wealth of the sector, did affect individuals by the time the list was completed in mid-May, Mr Aylmer said.
“If that announcement had not come out, Andrew Forrest would have been close to number one,” he said.
The recovery of the sharemarket through 2010 and a resilient local economy pushed the total wealth on the list to $135.8 billion from $114.1 billion and lifted the cut-off level for entry to the rich list to $185 million from $150 million a year before.
Former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull made the list again with $186 million, putting him at No.197. For the first time BRW assessed the wealth of federal politicians in the House of Representatives. Mr Turnbull was the only one of these to make the BRW Rich 200.
Another notable returnee was mining kingpin and former president of the Melbourne Football Club, Joseph Gutnick. He returned to the list at No.133 with $300 million from diamonds and gold, after a 10 year absence.
Chinese-born Australian citizen Chau Chak Wing entered the list at 35, with a whopping $920 million.
The well-connected Mr Wing reportedly made his fortune first in Sydney property before going to China to invest there. He is also owner of the New Express Daily newspaper in China.