World

Aussie tycoon gives $414m to charity

SYDNEY:Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest on Monday made the country's biggest philanthropic gift by a living individual, donating A$400 million (S$414 million) 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, who has faced 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 to stay afloat.

"It is a game changer in the Australian philanthropic community," said Mr Turnbull at an event to announce Mr Forrest's donation attended by politicians, actor Russell Crowe and health researchers.

Mr Forrest said he wants his donation to include A$75 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 Mr Forrest, whose stake in his Sydney-listed company was worth A$5.6 billion at Monday's close.

Crowe said he had a history of working with Mr Forrest "always connected to some gift or largess of Andrew's, or some plan to help other people".

He described the donation as an "incredible A$400m gift to the nation" in a Twitter post. - REUTERS

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