What is ACTCOSS?
The ACT Council of Social Service Inc. (ACTCOSS) represents not-for-profit community organisations and works tirelessly for social justice in the ACT.
We are a not-for-profit peak body, working collaboratively with organisations and individuals to create a collective voice, advocating for positive social change, and justice and self-determination for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our vision is for an inclusive Canberra where no one lives in poverty.
ACTCOSS also works closely with our colleagues in the nationwide COSS Network, made up of each of the state and territory Councils of Social Service (COSS) and the national body, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS).
ACTCOSS was formed in 1963 by a group of volunteers who saw the need for a Council of Social Service in the ACT.
With a grant of 10 pounds from the National Council of Women (ACT) and the driving force of a small and determined ACT Social Workers’ Group led by Ethel McGuire, a provisional committee was set up to create a constitution. The inaugural ACTCOSS meeting occurred on 30 July 1963. For an annual fee of 2 pounds, community organisations and government departments could become ACTCOSS members.
The Council was established to provide a mechanism through which people in the rapidly growing city of Canberra could come together to lead local service development, promote positive social change, be part of policy debates and contribute to the national network of Councils of Social Service.
Growing from a volunteer committee to a funded peak body, we remember our humble beginnings, pay tribute to the many citizens who led and nurtured ACTCOSS, and honour our commitment to advocating for social justice and effective service delivery for the Canberra community.
The ACTCOSS Jubilee Poem was composed by local writer Hal Judge for ACTCOSS’ 50th birthday in 2013.