The retail king Gerry Harvey may have a personal fortune of about $1.6 billion but the Harvey Norman founder thinks donating to charity is "just wasted".
Asked in a new book about the role he and Harvey Norman play in the community, Mr Harvey said giving money to people who "are not putting anything back into the community" is like "helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason".
He said he believed in helping "develop people to their potential" because "when they achieve [their potential] they will put a lot more back into the community".
"You could go out and give a million dollars to a charity tomorrow to help the homeless. You could argue that it is just wasted. They are not putting anything back into the community.
"It might be a callous way of putting it but what are they doing? You are helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason. They are just a drag on the whole community.
"So did that million you gave them help? It helped to keep them alive but did it help our society? No. Society might have been better off without them but we are supposed to look after the disadvantaged and so we do it. But it doesn't help the society."
Mr Harvey added: "That is not to say we don't give money away to charities because we have given plenty away over the years. At the end of the day, the more quality individuals you develop in the community, the better off the community should be."
Earlier this year, Harvey Norman donated beds to a charity, Bridge Back to Life, that helps homeless men find rental accommodation.
The comments are in a new book, Master CEOs, by the Sydney funds manager Matthew Kidman.
Clare Martin, the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, said: "I have really been impressed at corporate Australia and their real involvement in the wider community … and I always thought that Harvey Norman shared that as well.
"It does surprise me that Gerry Harvey, who's a very significant business figure, should not share the values of many other corporates."
In the interview, Mr Harvey also said that despite his wealth, "I still have a fear about going broke. I always think about it."
(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)
Media Man Australia Profiles