Forrests plan to keep on giving

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Mining magnate Andrew Forrest launched one of Australia's biggest private foundations at an event attended by WA's philanthropic community last night.

The Fortescue Metals Group chairman and wife Nicola announced at the Give 1 Night at Government House they would combine their Minderoo Foundation and business holdings, known as the Minderoo Group.

The new grouping will be rebranded as Minderoo, named after the Onslow cattle station - meaning "permanent water" - where Mr Forrest grew up.

The Forrests have given $270 million through the foundation since 2001 and earlier this year signed a pledge to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy.

He said Minderoo was a "ying and yang" between business and charity which would work together under the new foundation.

"The aim is for business to empower philanthropy which can do hard work which business can't," he said. Mr Forrest acknowledged he had "quite ambitious goals" for his foundation, some of which had attracted scepticism publicly, but said Minderoo would continue in its aim to achieve 50,000 commitments to employ indigenous people and end slavery worldwide.

The foundation will be expanded to include higher education opportunities.

While the Forrests' charity work takes them worldwide, Mrs Forrest said the foundation still held strong roots in Australia. "Australia's still in our heart," she said.

During a speech at Government House last night, Mr Forrest encouraged businesses to set big goals and "never give up" trying to achieve them.

He said donating money to charity was a "deeply personal decision" but encouraged businesses to help by doing something important to them.

WA Governor Malcolm McCusker hosted the event.

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