High Net Wealth Giving in Australia

High Net Wealth Giving: A Review of the Evidence highlights the untapped potential that exists to better fund the not-for-profit sector.

Overall, Australia is one of the world’s richest nations and the wealthiest Australians are currently experiencing unprecedented growth in their fortunes.

The wealth of the top 200 Australians, as reported in the Financial Review Rich List (AFR Top 200 Rich List), has grown 183% from $195.9 billion in 2015 to $555 billion in 2021, however Australia’s giving record remains relatively low compared with other wealthy countries.

Donations by Australians are estimated to make up 0.81% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to the United Kingdom (0.96%), Canada (1%), New Zealand (1.84%) and the United States (2.1%), and at the same time most Australian charities are operating under financial stress with social need increasing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reports demonstrates how the sector could be transformed through relatively modest increases in donations.

A commitment by the 200 wealthiest Australians to donate 1% of their wealth to charity would generate an extra $5.55 billion for the sector, boosting revenue by 3.2% and donations by 44%.

Other opportunities to increase philanthropic giving are considered in the report, including the application of an inheritance tax on high net wealth bequests.