Established in 1956, the Australian Council of Social Service is a national advocate for people affected by poverty, disadvantage and inequality, and the peak council for community services nationally.

ACOSS member organisations are central to our work. Our national membership network links a broad spectrum of community services across Australia supporting people affected by poverty and inequality.

Our values

  • We believe that no one should have to live in poverty and that all people should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • We are committed to the full realisation of human rights.
  • We value diversity and work inclusively.
  • We support self-determination for Australia’s First Peoples.
  • We want a sustainable future for all

How we work

  • We work at the national level, to influence changes to federal policies and laws.
  • We collaborate with the State and Territory Councils of Social Service.
  • We support the voices of people directly affected by policy.
  • We are dynamic, determined and strategic.
  • We are uncompromising in our commitment to human rights and equity and to calling out human rights breaches and inequities.
  • We partner with allies in diverse sectors around common goals to maximise our combined impact.
  • We work to find common ground across difference.
  • We are non-partisan.

What we do

We are working to ensure that Australia achieves its 2030 targets under the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on:

  • reducing at least by half the proportion of people living in poverty;
  • and progressively achieving and sustaining income growth of the 40 per cent of the population with the lowest incomes at a rate higher than the national average.

To achieve these targets, we develop policy, advocate and conduct research to effect the following policy outcomes:

  • A fair social security system that ensures we all have an adequate income to cover the cost of living and to live with dignity, free from poverty.
  • An equitable tax system that provides adequate revenue to fund services and supports today and in the future.
  • Full employment (employment opportunities with adequate paid working hours for those who seek them), including for people currently unemployed long term, with responsive, quality employment services for people disadvantaged in the labour market.
  • Quality services are funded fairly to meet diverse community needs, enable innovation and provide decent wages for workers, within a new funding framework that recognises the real costs of service delivery and fosters collaboration. Safe, affordable, secure and sustainable housing for everyone.
  • Effective action to address climate change and improve energy affordability, through a rapid transition to a clean economy which is just, inclusive, equitable and affordable.
  • People most vulnerable to climate impacts are supported to adapt and recover.
  • Self-determination for Australia’s First Peoples.

Our funding

ACOSS revenue comes from a combination of government funding, membership fees, grant funding, partner contributions and donations.

Read about our plans and achievements

Annual Report 2020 – 2021

View all Annual Reports here.

2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan

Accessible Strategic Plan

ACOSS – 2021 Audited Financial Report

ACOSS Governance Documents