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Stone The Crowes! A Mining Billionaire Just Promised To Give Away A Mountain Of Money

Psst! it is $400 million.

22/05/2017 12:14 PM AEST | Updated 22/05/2017 12:30 PM AEST
Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
Andrew Forrest, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Russell Crowe in Parliament House.

CANBERRA - An "extraordinary moment of love" and an example of "real leadership" is how Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is describing the largest philanthropic donation by a living person in Australian history.

Mining billionaire Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest and his wife Nicola have pledged $400 million on Monday to be spread across six different social and scientific areas, including cancer research and the eradication of slavery.

And yes, Forrest friend and Hollywood star Russell Crowe just happened to be there to help make the announcement.

The Fortescue Metals Group founder, who is worth US4.5 billion according to Forbes, said he was donating a "very large proportion" of his wealth.

How the $400 million will be spent

$75 million: cancer research;

$50 million: towards "building stronger communities";

$75 million: for higher education and breakthrough research;

$75 million: towards "giving every child their best chance";

$50 million: towards "creating equality of opportunity amongst all Australians";

$75 million: towards removing modern slavery from human history.

"I have been very fortunate, with my wife, Nicola, to be able to accumulate capital, and then as soon as we can to commence giving it away," Forrest said.

In announcing the figure for the Forrests, Turnbull declared this donation slightly different to taxpayer money spent by the federal government on "good causes," like health, education, welfare and national security.

"This is not extracted from you by force of law, this is a matter of conviction, of your love and your commitment,' Turnbull said.

"It is a game-changer in the Australian philanthropic community. And it will change the lives of thousands of people here in and around the world."

"But all of us should seek to do as much as we can with what we have. So, this is real leadership and leading by example."

In 2013, the Forrests joined 'The Giving Pledge' philanthropic movement - founded by Bill and Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffett - which encourages the world's billionaires to contribute at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity.

That pledge would take the couple's commitment to charity over $2.25 billion, based on their current estimated wealth.

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