(image via Golden Dragon)
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has set a new Australian record, giving away the largest amount of money ever to be donated by a living Australian resident.
Forest – whose personal net worth is estimated by Forbes Magazine at around $5.5 billion, has given away $400 million to be given to a number of causes.
Speaking at Parliament House in Canberra, Forest said he was fortunate to have accumulated a large amount of wealth, and was hoping to use it wisely.
“I stand before you obviously as your servant,” Forrest said.
“I have been very fortunate with my wife Nicola to be able to accumulate capital and then as soon as we could, to commence giving it away.”
Of the donation, around $75 million each will go toward cancer research, higher education, childhood education and slavery eradication whilst around $50 million each will go toward combatting indigenous disadvantage and building stronger communities.
Whilst the donation was much smaller than the $3 billion left by healthcare and media entrepreneur Paul Ramsey to his personal foundation upon his death, Forrest’s donation represents the larger ever made by an Australian person during their lifetime.
Forrest has a long history of involvement in philanthropic causes.
He was named as Western Australia’s 2017 Australian of the Year for his efforts in driving hands-on philanthropy to support 259 community causes along with work to highlight indigenous disparity and raising awareness about people trapped in modern slavery.
Declaring the move an ‘extraordinary act’, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed Forest’s move.
“This is not extracted from you by force of law, this is a matter of conviction, of your love and your commitment,” Turnbull told Forest.