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Australia’s wealthiest gain $8.5 billion

New analysis has shown that the top 10 members of BRW’s Rich List have increased their wealth by $8.5 billion since late in May, with billionaire James Packer overtaking Westfield Group  (ASX: WDC) Chairman Frank Lowy as Australia’s second richest person.

Whilst mining magnate Gina Rinehart retained the top position with her $23.5 billion fortune, Packer climbed from third position to second – which can largely be attributed to the strong performance of his gaming and leisure empire, Crown Resorts (ASX: CWN), over the past six months. Westfield’s shares on the other hand have struggled against the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) with challenging conditions still facing the retail sector.

Fortescue Metals Group’s (ASX: FMG) Andrew Forrest experienced a $1.8 billion gain since June – the largest gain out of any of the top 10 members – with shares in his company soaring amidst renewed confidence in the iron ore mining sector. He moved from ninth position on the rich list to seventh.

Making his first appearance within the top 10 was Ramsay Health Care’s (ASX: RHC) Paul Ramsay, who climbed from eleventh spot to tenth as his wealth grew by $400 million to $3.1 billion. Shares in RHC have risen 17% since the beginning of May.

Foolish takeaway

The share market is currently sitting around its highest level in five years, which has largely contributed to the gains experienced by the nation’s wealthiest members. However, there are still gains to be made, if you know where to look.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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