Gina Rinehart has been listed as Australia's richest farmer.
Gina Rinehart has been listed as Australia's richest farmer. Contributed/Darryl Peroni

Australia's rich list revealed

IT'S official: Gina Rinehart is Australia's richest farmer.

The Australian Financial Review's annual Rich List had the mining magnate, who has bought swathes of Australian pastoral and farming land in recent years, as the nation's third-richest person with an estimated wealth of $10.41billion.

The list named cardboard king Anthony Pratt and family as Australia's richest, with an estimated wealth of $12.6billion - up more than $2.2 billion on last year.

Property developer Harry Triguboff came in at No. 2 and is worth an estimated $11.45billion.

Of the 200 persons named in the list, more than 20 had links to agriculture.

Ms Rinehart's wealth grew more than $4 billion in the past year, during which she was the key backer of Australian-Chinese consortium Outback Beef's purchase of the nation's largest landholder S Kidman and Co for $386.5 million.

S Kidman and Co comprises pastoral leases covering 80,000 square kilometres in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Ms Rinehart's other property interests include the 500,000ha Inverway and Riveren stations in the Victoria River region of the Northern Territory, for which she paid $60 million for last year, and a number of wagyu farms around Dubbo in central NSW. In February, she launched her new 2GR Wagyu beef brand.

Fellow mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy” Forrest, who has an extensive agriculture portfolio including the 500,000ha Brickhouse and Minilya stations in Western Australia, which he purchased in 2015, came in at No. 6 on the list, with his estimated wealth more than doubling to $6.84 billion.

Media baron Kerry Stokes, who has several farming interests on South Australia's Kangaroo Island and last year paid more than $20 million for Mt House Station at Halls Creek in Western Australia, was ranked No. 14 with an estimated wealth of $2.9billion. Retail king Gerry Harvey came in at No. 21 with an estimated wealth of $2.34billion, including his 49.9% stake in Coomboona Holdings' dairy operation in northern Victoria.

Australian-born, London- based businessman Michael Hintze, whose MH Premium Farms owns more than 65,000ha of farmland across NSW, and more recently Victoria, was ranked No. 24, with an estimated wealth of $1.98 billion. MH Premium Farms paid $10 million for the 1951ha Cheviot Hills property in western Victoria last year.

There was also a dairy flavour to the list, with Chinese businessman Huang Binwen and family, who own dairy farms in Gippsland, coming in at No. 25, 10 places ahead of Tony Perich, of Leppington Pastoral Company, which milks about 2000 cows.

At No. 44, with an estimated wealth of $1.39million, was retail and property giant Brett Blundy, whose rural investments include Northern Territory stations Amungee Amungee (328,500ha) and Beetaloo (1.05 million ha) at Elliott, Mungabroom and OT Downs (1 million ha), and Walhallow and Cresswell at Tennant Creek (998,000ha).

Hamilton Island owner Sandy Oatley, who owns farms and vineyards in NSW, was ranked No. 65 with an estimated value of $913million, ahead of Twynam Agriculture Group's John Kahlbetzer (No. 72 with an estimated wealth of $841million), whose property portfolio includes 50,000ha of land in central and southern NSW.

Regular rich lister and barrister-to-the-corporate- stars Allan Myers came in at No. 95 with an estimated worth of $682 million.

Mr Myers owns Dunkeld Pastoral Company, whose interests include the 10,120ha Dunkeld Station aggregation in western Victoria and a half stake in the 400,000ha Tipperary Group in the Northern Territory.

At No. 132, Frank Costa, who still owns a considerable stake in the Costa Group (Australia's largest grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit), is worth an estimated $538 million.

Fourteen spots down the list, at No. 146, is Evan Acton and family of Acton Land and Cattle Company, which formed a joint venture Australian Country Choice in 2015, worth an estimated $490 million.

Doug Shears, whose ICM Agribusiness owns Riverina Milk and Peechelba Beef near Wangaratta, was ranked No. 179, seven spots ahead of northern cattleman Peter Hughes and family, who paid $67.5 million for the Tumbar property in Queensland last August and have an estimated wealth of $391 million.

Other agri-related persons to make this year's Rich List include Thomas Foods International owner Chris Thomas (No. 52 with an estimated wealth of $1.12billion), Real Dairy's Paul Lederer (No. 73 with an estimated wealth of $824million), Manildra Group chairman Dick Honan (No. 175 with an estimated wealth of $440 million) and Australia Meat Group chairman Joe Catalfamo (No. 190 with an estimated wealth of $373million).