Mining magnate and agriculture sector champion Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has been named the WA Australian of the Year, WA Today reports.
The Fortescue chairman and major shareholder was given the gong at a ceremony at Government House Ballroom in Perth this month.
The WA mining billionaire was praised as one of Australia’s greatest philanthropists and business leaders.
Collecting the award for devoting his time and money to highlight Australia’s Indigenous disparity and drawing attention to modern slavery around the world he praised his fellow finalists and called on members of the community to play their part.
“I stand here before you as a really grateful West Australian, who grew up in the bush, and was fortunate enough to have parents who worked tirelessly.
“I had, in a sense, the security of luck and the opportunity to bring fortune to mine and many other families. But as my wife says, we are just custodians of that wealth.
“If we in WA or Australia show we are not going to stand for modern slavery or indigenous disparity, we can make a great difference.”
Mr Forrest has pledged to give away the overwhelming majority of his wealth to help combat issues both at home and abroad.
“Never daunted by the scale of challenge, Andrew devotes his relentless energy to society’s most vulnerable, tirelessly working to highlight Australia’s Indigenous disparity and drawing attention to and liberating 45.8 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world,” the blurb in the programme notes stated.
“His highly-successful Fortescue Metals group is one of Australia’s largest engagers of Aboriginal businesses and Aboriginal employees. Andrew publicly encourages ‘honest failure’ as key to any country’s success, and humility as crucial to sustainable leadership.
Large image: Bharti Patel, CEO, ECPAT UK and Andrew Forrest, Chairman, Walk Free / Wikipedia–