Who We Are

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

Established in 1956, ACOSS aims to reduce poverty and inequality by:

  • Leading and supporting initiatives within the community services and welfare sector and acts as an independent non-party political voice
  • By drawing on the direct experiences of people affected by poverty and inequality and the expertise of its diverse member base, we develop and promote socially and economically responsible public policy and action by government, community and business.

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.

Peak body for the community sector

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

The ACOSS national member network is comprised of:

  • 8 state and territory Councils of Social Service which represent thousands of front-line community agencies
  • 79 National Organisation Members
  • 6 National Constituency Organisation Members (representative bodies)

Many state and local organisations also support the work of ACOSS as Associate Members. Individuals can join ACOSS as an Individual Supporter.