Rinehart tops Forbes' Australian rich list

Reported by AAP
Friday, February 1, 2013
Gina Rinehart
Rinehart is still on top, despite falling commodity prices (Getty).
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Gina Rinehart has held on to the top spot on Forbes Asia's annual Australian rich list despite falling iron ore prices eating into her $16.41 billion mining fortune.

The latest who's who of Australia's wealthy types revealed that while $965.39 million had been knocked off Mrs Rinehart's estimated fortune in 2012, she remained leagues ahead of her compatriot billionaires.

Casino operator James Packer recorded the biggest leap in fortune, with his net worth increasing by $1.45 billion to $5.79 billion.

Mr Packer was Australia's third wealthiest person after his fortunes swelled thanks to the $1.94 billion sale of Cons Media - his family's last major media asset - to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Forbes described 2012 as the year when the Crown casino group chairman, and the youngest person on the list at 45, "came into his own".

Others weren't so fortunate.

Nathan Tinkler vanished from the list after having claimed the 26th spot in 2011 with a fortune of $801.27 million.

The 36-year-old had made the front page of Forbes Asia magazine last year amid expectations he was about to become a billionaire after his Aston Resources merged with Whitehaven Coal.

But the price of coal sank, along with Tinkler's fortunes.

He is now fending off a range of creditors, who claim he owes about $700 million.

Fellow miners also saw their fortunes flag, with Glencore International's chief Ivan Glasenberg's net worth falling to $6.47 billion from $6.95 billion.

However the South African born 56-year-old, who became an Australian citizen in the 1980s, retained the number two spot on the Forbes list.

Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest had $482.70 million lopped off his net worth, taking it to $4.63 billion and pushing him down the list two places to number five.

More fortunate was 89-year-old gaming entrepreneur Len Ainsworth, who returned to the list as a billionaire for the first time.

The head of Ainsworth Game Technology more than doubled his wealth in 2012 to $994.35 million after the value of his company more than quadrupled.

Overall, the number of Australian billionaires rose by three to 23 in 2012.

For those hoping to make an appearance on the 2013 rich list, all you need is a cool $598.54 million to attract Forbes' attention.

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