Tiny Vic town is Australia’s most generous

Residents of the tiny central Victorian town of Castlemaine are Australia’s most generous, a survey shows.

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The 9,984 residents donated 0.36 per cent of their taxable income to charity in the year February, according to National Australia Bank’s Charitable Giving Index released on Tuesday.

People living in the swankier Melbourne suburb of Middle Park and the Sydney’s Mosman may have given more in dollar terms but Castlemaine residents gave a higher proportion of their income to charity.

The NAB survey shows overall charitable donations rose by 6.5 per cent nationwide last year with the average donor giving $348 to charity, a $12 rise on the previous year.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said it was heartening to see that residents of all states gave more to charity despite the challenges facing some as the economy rebalances away from mining.

“The economic environment looks to have provided some solid support for the charity sector, with recent GDP growth figures providing reassurance that the Australian economy has remained resilient against an uncertain global backdrop and weak commodity prices,” Mr Oster said.

He said another factor contributing to the growth of giving could be the fall in consumer anxiety in recent quarters.

“With overall anxiety levels easing, consumers appear to have responded positively in their charitable spending behaviours with fewer consumers cutting back on their charitable spending this past year,” Mr Oster said.

The report said the 20 postcodes where donors gave the most had an average taxable income of $120,000, more than double the national average of $58,700.

However, the 20 postcodes where people donated the highest proportion of their incomes had an average taxable income of just under $60,000.

Humanitarian charities were the largest beneficiaries of Australian generosity, receiving 35 per cent of all donations.