Australia’s richest people live near Sydney’s northern beaches and earn more than 10 times the income of the nation’s poorest, who live in regional NSW, ATO statistics show.
The latest taxation statistics for 2016-17, based on information 13.9 million Australians reported in their tax returns, again highlights the giant pay gap between the nation’s richest and poorest.
The report presents an overview of 16.5 million 2017 income tax returns, which include 970,000 companies, as well as super funds, partnerships and trusts.
There is a difference of $209,741 in average income between the richest postcode (2108) and poorest postcode (2308).
Sydney’s 2108 postcode, which covers Coasters Retreat, Currawong Beach, Great Mackerel Beach and Palm Beach, recorded Australia’s highest average taxable income of $230,330.
Melbourne’s 3142 postcode, covering Toorak and Hawksburn, was the second highest nationally, with an average taxable income of $193,904.
Sydney’s postcode 2027, which includes Darling Point, Edgecliff, HMAS Rushcutters and Point Piper, came in third with an average taxable income of $187,689.
This postcode was Australia’s richest the year before (in 2015-16).
Eight out of the top 10 highest-earning postcodes were in Sydney, while the other two were in or near Melbourne.
Top earning postcodes
Australia’s poorest postcode: 2308
New South Wales was also home to the nation’s lowest-earning area.
Postcode 2308, covering Newcastle University and Callaghan, had an average taxable income of $20,589.
Postcode 4611, taking in the areas of Marshlands and Mondure, recorded the second-lowest average income nationally of $23,225.
Victoria’s 3482, taking in Watchem, Watchem West, Morton Plains, Warmur and Massey, recorded the third-lowest average at $24,346.
Lowest earning postcodes
ATO Deputy Commissioner Louise Clarke said Queensland had five of the 10 lowest-earning areas in the country.
The data comes amid a debate about low wages growth ahead of this year’s federal election.
Best-paid occupation: surgeon
The statistics also cover average taxable income by occupation and state.
Medical practitioners dominated the highest earning occupations, with surgeons posting the biggest average incomes with a national average taxable income of $394,866.
Anaesthetists filled the second spot with an average income of $367,343, and internal medicine specialists came in third with an average income of $299,378.
Financial dealers took fourth place with an average income of $261,008, while psychiatrists took fifth place with an average income of $216,075.
Top paid occupations
The lowest-earning professions were dominated by hospitality, with farm work and cleaning also featuring.
Fast-food cooks were the absolute lowest earners (average income $18,616), followed by hospitality employee ($19,102), hospitality apprentice or trainee ($19,282), farm, forestry or garden worker apprentice or trainee ($19,744), and farmer ($22,378).
Lowest paid occupations
Of about 1100 occupations recorded, there were only 72 occupations where females had an average taxable income higher than males.
Ms Clarke said this included authors, futures traders, magistrates, professional surfers and illustrators.
But in the highest-earning profession, women earned far less than men.
For example, a male surgeon earns on average $430,128, while a female surgeon earns on average $227,034.
The lowest-earning profession for females was construction and mining ($13,845), while the lowest for males was hospitality apprentice or trainee ($18,366).
Charity donations average $770
Australians also reported donating $3.5 billion to charity, with an average gift size for those who did donate of $770.
The most generous state was Western Australia, with 30 per cent of residents claiming an average deduction of $1190.
Northern Territory residents recorded the lowest level of charitable donations, with 34 per cent of residents claiming an average deduction of $405.
As part of this year’s tax stats release, the ATO included data relating to individuals with private health insurance.