Australian Community Sector Survey

Read the latest report from the Australian Community Sector Study project Meeting community needs in difficult times: experiences of Australia’s community sector

The Australian Community Sector Survey is the longest running survey of the community sector by the community sector. It examines changes in the operating environment of community organisations, major issues of concern to these organisations, and looks at how the sector is responding to community need.

In its current form the research is coordinated and commissioned by ACOSS in partnership with the State and Territory Councils of Social Service and with the support of Bendigo Bank, whose commitment to strong communities has seen over $251 million invested in local communities since 1998. The research itself is undertaken by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney.




Meeting community needs in difficult times: experiences of Australia’s community sector. April 2021

This report is the first of the 2021 reports from the Australian Community Sector Survey project. Drawing on interviews and focus groups with 35 community sector leaders working in diverse contexts across Australia, this report shows that the sector is confronting rising levels of need and increasingly complex experiences of hardship in the community.


Australia’s community sector and COVID-19: Supporting communities through the crisis. September 2020

This report provides quantitative research about the state of Australia’s community service sector specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on data collected in July 2020 from 744 community sector workers throughout the country. It paints a picture of community sector organisations working through a period of escalating need to provide services through new service delivery models following years of systemic under-investment, resource insecurity and undervaluation. However, the commitment of the sector is shown despite the complex and unpredictable circumstances of this crisis: It is difficult work, but we want to be there (housing & homelessness service worker).

Read the report: Australia’s Community Sector and COVID-19 – Supporting Communities Through the Crisis 

Read the media release: New survey shows impact of COVID-19 on community sector and those it helps

Read the snapshot: Impact of increased income support on community services, August 2020

The profile and pulse of the sector: Findings from the 2019 Australian Community Sector Survey

This report is based on responses to a quantitative survey into the community sector conducted in October 2019. 1,454 community sector staff responded to the survey. This report shows that the levels of poverty and disadvantage among the people and communities that these services work with have increased, with the most common issues affecting people being affordability and cost of living pressures, housing and homelessness, and inadequate rates of income support. It provides a useful picture of both the state of community services and the people they help before the twin crises of bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the report in PDF: The profile and pulse of the sector: Findings from the 2019 Australian Community Sector Survey


Read the media release: As impact of coronavirus grows, survey shows vital community services sinking with demand

Read the snapshot: Challenges for Australia’s Community Sector: ERO Supplementation and in HTML here

Read the snapshot: Demand for Community Services and in HTML here

Previous years