TAX increase notwithstanding, the nation's mining barons have spent the past year surging ahead in the wealth stakes.
Mining bosses and investors filled 25 of the top 200 in the BRW Rich List, after seeing their wealth climb $7.9 billion from one year earlier.
But it was a doyen of the property industry, Frank Lowy, who claimed top spot for the first time in the history of the annual list, with an estimated wealth of $5.04 billion.
The iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart finished second on the list with $4.75 billion. Visy's Anthony Pratt ($4.6 billion) slips to third, and Andrew Forrest ($4.24 billion) comes in fourth. He probably would have claimed top spot had the value of his Fortescue Metals shares not plunged for the past month.
The apartment developer Harry Triguboff ($4.2 billion) rounds off the top five, while James Packer's estimated fortune of $4.1 billion sees him slide to sixth.
Sean Aylmer, the editor-in-chief of BRW - which is owned by Fairfax, the publisher of The Sydney Morning Herald - said the Rich List, released today, was now populated by a lot of small miners that were nowhere near it a decade ago.
''The list used to be dominated by property guys, but miners are now the number two sector and growing faster than anybody else,'' Mr Aylmer said.
Malcolm Turnbull ($186 million) is the only politician to make the top 200. Kevin Rudd and Therese Rein's fortune is estimated at $56 million, while Joe Hockey and his wife, Melissa Babbage, are thought to be worth $4.4 million.
The property industry filled 59 of the top 200 places, the mining industry filled 25 places, and investors took 23 spots.
At today's annual general meeting of shareholders, Mr Lowy is tipped to deliver an upbeat chairman's address.
Mr Lowy started Westfield with then-partner John Saunders, when they opened a delicatessen at Blacktown. But property development beckoned and in 1959 the first Westfield shopping centre was opened. A year later he took the Westfield Development Corporation into the the public view with a sharemarket listing.
To help celebrate the group's golden anniversary, Mr Lowy and his family will host a dinner tonight in Sydney with a gathering of up to 1000 people, including the Prime Minister.
A decade ago the 40th dinner was held at the Westin Hotel, where the then Prime Minister John Howard mixed with a who's who of Australian and international business, sport and retail elite.
But it hasn't all been plain sailing, with Westfield feeling the impact of the financial crisis. In the group's annual report for the 2009 year, Mr Lowy's total package for the year to December 31 included a base salary of $8 million and almost $6 million in cash bonuses. His total pay was down from $16.2 million in 2008.