Min­ing mag­nate makes coun­try’s largest phi­lan­thropic gift by a liv­ing in­di­vid­ual

New Straits Times - - World -

AUS­TRALIAN min­ing mag­nate An­drew For­rest yes­ter­day made the coun­try’s big­gest phi­lan­thropic gift by a liv­ing in­di­vid­ual, do­nat­ing A$400 mil­lion (RM1.28 bil­lion) to causes cov­er­ing health, ed­u­ca­tion and fight­ing mod­ern slav­ery.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull sang the praises of the one- third owner of world No. 4 iron ore pro­ducer Fortes­cue Met­als Group Ltd, who has faced oc­ca­sional crit­i­cism about his treat­ment of indige­nous peo­ple in the min­eral-rich state of West­ern Aus­tralia.

The do­na­tion set a new bench­mark for pri­vate sec­tor phi­lan­thropy in Aus­tralia, where ed­u­ca­tors, doc­tors and arts or­gan­i­sa­tions have tra­di­tion­ally re­lied on gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies.

“It is a game-changer in the Aus­tralian phi­lan­thropic com­mu­nity,” said Turn­bull at an event to an­nounce For­rest’s do­na­tion, at­tended by gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion politi­cians, ac­tor Rus­sell Crowe, and health re­searchers. He said it was a record.

“This is not ex­tracted from you by force of law, this is a mat­ter of con­vic­tion, of your love and your com­mit­ment,” Turn­bull said, ad­dress­ing For­rest in front of me­dia.

For­rest said he wanted his do­na­tion to in­clude A$75 mil­lion (RM240.8 mil­lion) for cancer re­search, A$75 mil­lion for higher ed­u­ca­tion, A$75 mil­lion for child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, and $75 mil­lion to be di­rected to­wards fight­ing mod­ern slav­ery.

“I have been very for­tu­nate, with my wife, Ni­cola, to be able to ac­cu­mu­late and then, as soon as we can, to com­mence giv­ing it away,” said For­rest, whose stake in his Syd­ney-listed com­pany was worth A$5.6 bil­lion (RM18 bil­lion) at Mon­day’s close.

Crowe said he had a his­tory of work­ing with For­rest “which seem al­ways con­nected to some gift or largesse of An­drew’s, or some plan to help other peo­ple.”

Crowe de­scribed the do­na­tion as an “in­cred­i­ble A$400m gift to the na­tion” in a post on his of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count. Reuters

An­drew For­rest

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