Combined they have more than 3400 years’ experience, an average age of 69.4 and are worth just under US$100 billion.
Who are they? Australia’s richest 50 according to Forbes. Find out more about our highest paid executives:
1. Gina Rinehart
Topping this list is Perth mining magnate Gina Rinehart with an estimated net worth of $17 billion at the start of 2013. In addition to holding the enviable title of the richest Australian, Rinehart is the fifth richest woman in the world.
While making roughly $1 billion a year from iron ore and coal through Hancock Prospecting, Rinehart also has stakes in other industries like media, where she maintains a fractious relationship.
She is also known for an infamous and continuing court battle with some of her children and her outspoken opinions. In mid-2012, Rinehart called for Australians to work harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising if they want to become wealthier.
2. Ivan Glasenberg
Coming in at number two on the Forbes list is Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore International, whose net worth of $6.7 billion was boosted by a takeover of mining company Xstrata. While included in the Australian rich list,
Glasenberg was born in South Africa, has Israeli ties, is a Swiss citizen and holds an MBA from the University of Southern California. Glasenberg is also known for his blunt business approach and encouragement of competition among his workforce, telling The Wall Street Journal, “If I'm not pulling my weight and setting an example, and keeping the charge going, they'll come at me, for sure. And the board will see it, and they will get me out. The day I start slacking, take my word, they'll attack me. And thank God for that, this is what this company lives on and thrives on.”
3. James Packer
Rounding out the top three with an estimated net worth of $6 billion is James Packer. While the Packer family made their fortune in the media industry, James Packer sold Consolidated Media Holdings in 2012 to focus on Crown Ltd, a gaming empire with casinos in Australia and overseas.
Packer is also the youngest individual on Australia’s rich list at only 45. Globally this is also considered comparatively young for a billionaire, with Packer joining the likes of Google’s Sergey Brin (40 with a net worth of $22.8 billion) and Baidu’s Robin Li (44 with an estimated worth of $6.9 billion) in the lower billionaire age bracket.
So how does the average Australian fare in comparison to our richest?
It is, of course, an unfair comparison as according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) one in 10 full-time employees earned $2364 or more per week and a similar percentage earned $738 or less per week in May 2012.
Segmenting the same ABS data by industry further highlights that there are significant differences in fortunes and most of us will only ever make a fraction of what the Rineharts, Glasenbergs and Packers of the world earn.