Amid a range of controversial shake-ups to superannuation from the Albanese Government, the ATO has revealed that among the 400,000 Aussies with more than $1 million in super, one lucky saver has racked up over $544 million. Here, we give our comparatively minute two cents on who we think it might be…
In mid-February, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced reforms to the super system aimed to redress the COVID-19 “debacle” wherein the Morrison Government allowed Aussies to withdraw up to $20,000 from their super in the early months of the pandemic.
The reforms, designed to make it harder to withdraw super early, also included plans to review tax perks on super funds worth more than $3 million – a policy that affects roughly 1% of Australian taxpayers.
As part of the reforms, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has revealed some interesting data breaking down the value of superannuation funds across the country.
The average Aussie’s super balance is around $150,000. Roughly 400,000 Australians have between $1 million and $2 million in their super, while only 100 people had over $50 million.
The ATO whittled these figures all the way down until they found the one lucky Aussie with the biggest super balance of them all: a whopping $544 million.
Unsurprisingly, this has set the internet alight with speculation as to who the mystery millionaire could be. A number of high-profile names have been thrown into the ring. Here at DMARGE, we couldn’t bear to be left out of the debate, so we sat down and figured out our top contenders for the mystery mega-super.
First up is Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart: the controversial executive chair of Hancock Prospecting, one of Australia’s biggest mining companies. Hancock is also Australia’s second-largest cattle producer, with a portfolio of properties across the country.
Rinehart has made significant investments into rare earth minerals and the gas sector in recent years, despite pushback from climate activists. Out of her total $29 billion of wealth, we reckon $544 million in super is pretty achievable.
Of course, there’s all sorts of rules about how much money you can actually drop into your super, so just because Rinehart is mega-rich doesn’t mean she can just dump dosh into super. Anyway…
Next up is Alan Joyce, the much-maligned CEO of Qantas. Appointed to the role in 2008 after cutting his teeth at Aer Lingus where he held roles in sales, marketing, IT, network planning, operations research, revenue management and fleet planning – a pretty comprehensive skillset as they go – the Irishman ranks as one of Australia’s wealthiest CEOs.
With Qantas returning to double-digit growth in FY22 after a challenging couple of years amid the pandemic, Joyce’s annual salary was bumped to $5.5 million, meaning that he’s taken home close to $100 million in salary and bonuses since 2012.
Little is known about his investment portfolio beyond Qantas, but a $500 million super certainly isn’t inconceivable.
Third is Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, one time stockbroker and keen amateur boxer, who made his billions in the mining and energy sector, just like Rinehart.
Now allegedly committed to repositioning the Fortescue Metals Group as a green energy powerhouse, his estimated net worth sits at a staggering $21.1 billion. Alongside Reinhart, he’s one of our forerunners.
Being that part of Forrest’s green energy plans involve getting super funds to invest big in Squadron, his private energy firm, it’ll be interesting to see if he comes out against the Albanese Government’s super tax.
Finally, our youngest contender is Mike Cannon-Brookes, founder and co-CEO of collaboration software firm Atlassian, based in Sydney. With a comparatively meagre net worth of $10.7 billion, he also acquired a minority stake in Australian energy company AGL Energy in 2022.
Though a half-billion super is also well within his means, his relative youth compared to our other contenders and commitment to giving away large swathes of his wealth – pledging to donate $1.5 billion of his wealth by 2030, earmarking it for climate change charity and investments – means his economic future is somewhat less predictable.
With over 40 Aussie billionaires on record, there are a fair few people with the cash flow required for such a juicy retirement fund. Sadly, we may never find out whose it is and we’ll never know what it feels like to have that kind of money stashed away, but at least we can all consider ourselves a little richer for the healthy speculation they’ve inspired.