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Australian iron ore magnate donates $300 million to charity

Staff Writer |
Billionaire Andrew Forrest and his family will donate $400 million, in the biggest single philanthropic gift by a living person in Australia’s history.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the donation put forward by Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola will be a “game changer” to the nation, 9news reports.

"It will change the lives of thousands of people here in and around the world," Mr Turnbull said.

The mining and business magnate has now cemented himself as the most generous donor in Australian history.

Mr Turnbull said the funding would go to cancer research, equality of opportunity, fighting slavery and higher education.

Mr Forrest said the $400 million was a very large proportion of what he and his wife Nicola earned.

"We're doing it because it's very timely in all of the fields which we're donating to," he said.

Mr Forrest admits America has a much stronger philanthropic culture than Australia, but times are changing.

There was an irony in the fact Australians have the most naturally generous hearts and mateship attitude but there was a cynicism about philanthropy.

He recalled his first public donation after years of secretive pledges.

"The immediate response was that's been done for tax and it had nothing to do with tax," Mr Forrest said.

The announcement at Parliament House in Canberra was also attended by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and film star Russell Crowe.

It's not the first time the Forrest family has made a major philanthropic donation.

The 55-year-old and his wife Nicola established the Minderoo Foundation in 2001, with the ethos that "by giving a hand up, not a hand out, we can empower communities".

Minderoo has supported more than 250 initiatives both within Australia and internationally, including fighting modern slavery, ending Indigenous disadvantage, and ensuring all children in Australia "thrive by five".

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