Monday, May 07, 2007

How generous is that!

The Australian government might be failing to meet its commitment to give 0.7% GNP to help the poorest countries meet the Millennium Development Goals, but Australian citizens are giving more than ever.

Australians gave $1.5 billion in 2004-05, according to a study of the latest Tax Office data by Queensland University of Technology's Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies has found. The study examined official figures on tax-deductable donations. It does not include all those small amounts we dropped into the charity tin, or the raffle tickets we bought.

NSW taxpayers donated an average of 0.42 per cent of their taxable income, followed by ACT taxpayers with 0.38 per cent and Victorian taxpayers with 0.37 per cent. This compared with a national average of just under 0.35 per cent.

The public response to the Indian Ocean tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 caused a sharp rise in tax-deductible gifts. However, even without the tsunami-related giving, tax-deductible donations have been well above the average growth rate over the past five years. Fifteen years of economic growth and a 30-year low in the unemployment rate underpinned the donations.

The report said fears that some charities would suffer from donor fatigue after the tsunami were misplaced.

The strong indications are that giving has expanded to meet the challenge of the tsunami and, in fact, increased further due to the public focus on giving.

In 1994-5, 33% of tax-payers claimed a tax-deductable charity donation, in 2004-5 this had increased to 38.4% of tax-payers and the average individual claim for tax-deductable gifts had doubled. More Australians are giving, and they are giving more!

And is it true that the more you’ve got the more you give? Apparently, it is. People who earnt more than $1mill gave way an average of 1.98% of their taxable income, compared with the national average of .35%. Oh, and the figures show that women are more generous than men – on average women gave 0.37%: men 0.33%.

So, we can all keep up the good work! Is ‘generous’ as strong a part of the Australian character as ‘larrikin’ and ‘fair go’? It will be if we make it so. I encourage you to find a good project that you have confidence in, and give it your support. Make a difference!

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