FAMILIES in Sydney's wealthiest suburbs give away much less of their income than those with much lower incomes in towns and suburbs elsewhere.
The National Australia Bank Charitable Giving Index has revealed that Australians are giving more to charity - in the seven months to July 2012 donations increased 4.7 per cent to an average of $292 per donor.
Six Sydney suburbs - Killara, Vaucluse, Mosman, Balmain, Darling Point and Hunters Hill - figured in the top 10 neighbourhoods for size of donation.
A fisherman tends to his nets at Lakes Entrance in rural Victoria, the most generous neighbourhood in Australia according to the National Australia Bank Charitable Giving Index. Photo: John Woudstra
But when it comes to the proportion of income that people give away, Lakes Entrance in rural Victoria was the most generous neighbourhood in Australia. That community donated an average 0.34 per cent of their mean 2009-10 taxable income to charity.
On that measure Sydney's prosperous suburbs performed far worse. There were no NSW postcodes represented in the national top 10, measured by proportion of income donated, and there was only one in the top 20 - Killara. That is despite NSW having nine suburbs in the top 20 postcodes nationally for mean taxable income.
On average, the top 10 postcodes from the ACT donated 0.21 per cent of their mean 2009-10 taxable income to charity in the year to July 2012, marginally ahead of South Australia and Victoria (both 0.2 per cent), but significantly higher than the average donated in Queensland (0.16 per cent) and NSW (0.14 per cent). Despite Western Australia's strong economy and growing mining wealth, its top 10 postcodes donated the smallest amount of their mean income - 0.13 per cent.
The index, which reviewed donations made by credit card, BPAY and EFTPOS to more than 600 charities (about 60 per cent of all donations in Australia), sheds light on where donations come from and go to in Australia.
People in the wealthy Melbourne suburb Middle Park made the highest average donation of $334 followed by Adelaide's Vale Park ($276) and Killara ($248).
Average giving from the 10 highest postcodes in NSW was $192 per person in the year to July 2012, ahead of the Victorian top 10 average of $185 and South Australia ($165).
Humanitarian services, which included agencies such as World Vision, Oxfam and Red Cross - attracted about a third of all donations between August 2011 and July 2012.
This was followed by community services/family/children (15.2 per cent) and medical research and services (12.4 per cent). Animals and the environment - which included the RSPCA, Greenpeace and The Wilderness Society - received 7 per cent of the donations.
Humanitarian services attracted an average yearly donation size of $354 and medical research got an average of $207. Average giving was lowest for cancer ($115) and health and disability ($119).
The report said charitable giving was seasonal and had two main peaks. ''June is the main period for charitable giving as donors take advantage of tax concessions as the financial year ends,'' it said.