Mark Kenny | Bevan Shields
Mining magnate Andrew Forrest will give away $400 million of his personal fortune to charity.
Fairfax Media first revealed details on the donation overnight but the figure was confirmed by Mr Forrest on Monday morning.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joined Mr Forrest for the announcement at Parliament House in Canberra.
Mr Turnbull declared the donation an “extraordinary act” and an example of “love, generosity and leadership”.
“This is not extracted from you by force of law, this is a matter of conviction, of your love and your commitment,” Mr Turnbull told Mr Forrest.
“All of us who have done well have been blessed by good fortune. So the generous person, the loving person gives back.”
About $75 million will go towards cancer research, another $75 million to higher education, $75 million to childhood education, $50 million towards Indigenous disadvantage, and $75 million will be used to eliminate modern slavery.
Mr Forrest, the chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, and his wife Nicola have a long history of philanthropic gestures but Monday’s announcement dwarfs those previous contributions and makes it the single largest philanthropic donation by a living person in Australian history.
While there have been a number of significant donations in Australia, the biggest have tended to come from deceased estates, or from large corporations.
Dr Ronald DePinho, who will benefit from the cancer research funding, said the world was in a position to make a “decisive assault” on cancer. The $75 million earmarked for that initiative will be spent co-ordinating global cancer institutes.