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Sweet charity: territory leads in giving

Marilyn Ferguson of Dickson donates to charities on a regular basis.

Marilyn Ferguson of Dickson donates to charities on a regular basis. Photo: Melissa Adams

Australians have been known to be less than charitable towards Canberra but it turns out they are less charitable than their Canberra counterparts, full stop.

National Australia Bank's charitable giving index shows the capital is home to the most generous people in the country, with average donations significantly higher in the ACT for both dollar giving and as a proportion of income.

By analysing credit-card, debit-card, direct-debit, BPAY and eftpos donations, NAB found that, weighted by population, the ACT is the most generous state or territory in the country, with an average donation of $124 per person in the 12 months to August this year - almost double the national average of $64.

Of the top postcodes for charitable donations in Australia, as a percentage of income, the first four are in the ACT, with another two in the top 20.

In a coup for north-south relations, the top spot was shared between 2602 in the north (including Ainslie, Dickson, Downer, Hackett, Lyneham, O'Connor and Watson) and 2611 in the south, (including Chapman, Duffy, Fisher, Holder, Rivett, Stirling, Uriarra, Waramanga, Weston and Weston Creek).

Residents of both postcodes donated an average of 0.28 per cent of their salaries to charity.

Marilyn Ferguson, of Dickson, is among those charitable residents. The former teacher of children with disabilities says she ''can't walk past'' a charity fund-raiser on the street.

While she does not make regular direct-debit donations to any particular charity, she donates when and if she can, with certain children's charities taking precedence.

''I just hate to see people doing it tough,'' she said. ''If I can afford to do it, I'm happy to do it.''

Ms Ferguson is not surprised that Canberra is such as charitable city.

''People come [to Canberra] from all over,'' she said. ''They know what the rest of the world's like and understand it … I think there is a big middle class here, too.''

After the ACT's top-two postcodes, Kambah (2902) was third, then 2614 (Weetangera and surrounds) was fourth. Also making the top 20 in 13th and 16th positions were 2905 (Calwell and surrounds) and 2605 (Curtin, Hughes and Garran).

In dollar terms, north-side 2602 residents averaged $174 in donations, just edging out the south-siders in 2611 ($173), the fourth and fifth highest in the country.

Taking out the top three in dollar terms were the well-to-do Sydney postcodes that take in Mosman, Balmain and Vaucluse.

While Mosman residents give 17 per cent more in dollar terms than those in the ACT's 2602 and 2011 postcodes, their incomes are about 57 per cent higher, on average.

Breaking down other demographics of charitable giving, the index found the average annual donation increases with age, with over-65s the most generous in dollar terms. The older a donor, the more charities they are likely to support.

Humanitarian services charities were by far the best supported, with 32.2 per cent of market share, followed by medical research and services (13.2 per cent), then health and disability (11.6 per cent).

Does your suburb rate? Click on the dots below to see if your suburb is in the top 20 for giving in the ACT, and how much the average person gives.


  • Good to see that Canberra's most generous live in the working class suburbs. Those in the Triangle really should lift their game.

    Date and time
    November 04, 2013, 7:04AM
    • canberra has the best amenities ,roads, infrastructure and so on ,so they should give more ,because they get more .And for what?Appearances to foreign embassy staff and an odd big blow by?

      Date and time
      November 04, 2013, 8:47AM
      • @Lane

        And yet, the majority of people in the ACT are middle class. What are the wealthy suburbs of say, north Sydney doing?

        Advocatus Diaboli
        Date and time
        November 04, 2013, 10:31AM
      • The ACT has had self government since 1989. That means we pay our own rates and taxes, and get a share of GST revenue as appropriately outlined to provide our services. What this has to do with charitability I have no idea.

        Lets just continue to lead by example. If you want to make it a competition then lets do that, it's one area where I'm happy to compete on.

        Mr J
        Date and time
        November 04, 2013, 12:35PM
    • Interesting that Canberra's wealthiest suburbs - Red Hill, Deakin, Forrest - don't figure in the generosity stakes.

      Date and time
      November 04, 2013, 9:00AM
      • Most of those in the 'wealthier suburbs' give through many different means and in a lot of instances it is through their own businesses. The Canberra corporate community are amongst the most generous in the country, you only have to attend a charity fundraiser in this town to realise the point that I am making.

        Inner South
        Date and time
        November 04, 2013, 10:14AM
    • Re: By analysing credit-card, debit-card, direct-debit, BPAY and eftpos donations, NAB found that...

      What's it got to do with the NAB? Is this a proper use of transaction data? I don't remember authorising the NAB to use my transaction data in this way? The thin end of the wedge?

      Date and time
      November 04, 2013, 9:48AM
      • They probably conducted the research. Don't worry, your details are safe. Do you really care they they used this data to analyse an interesting story anyway? It's not like they gave your details to international criminals. Relax.

        Date and time
        November 04, 2013, 12:25PM
    • NAB's study seems to assume that people are giving through their bank accounts, but what about workplace giving? According to Hands Across Canberra, almost $100 million has been donated to charities through Workplace Giving programs supported by The Australian Charities since 2002. I make the majority of my charitable donations this way. Perhaps the ATO would have more accurate statistics.

      Also, $124/yr seems very low to me for a city with average wages of over $1600/week. (see Canberra Times report from earlier this year: )

      Date and time
      November 04, 2013, 6:55PM
      Comments are now closed

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