Media release: Survey shows ACT community services and workers at risk from funding uncertainty

27 February 2020

ACT community service leaders are concerned that the Federal Government has yet to commit to the continuation of funding put in place to ensure staff can be fairly paid in this important sector. The sector provides homelessness, food relief, mental health and many other community services.

A survey of community service sector leaders has found that without the renewal of this funding, community service organisations would be forced to reduce staff or services.

The funding (Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding) was put in place almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in a sector where lots of women do important work.

The survey was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney in collaboration with the Councils of Social Service of Australia, supported by Community Sector Banking.

The survey shows 55% of community sector services in the ACT currently receive the Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding.

CEO of the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), Dr Emma Campbell, said:

“ACT workers in the community service sector provide support to people when they need it most, when they’re facing homelessness, escaping domestic violence or dealing with mental health.

“Community service workers deserve fair pay for their important work.

“We’re deeply concerned that the Federal Government has yet to commit to the continuation of funding put in place to ensure staff are paid fairly in this sector, which is made up of 80% women.

“Cutting funding for community sector workers would mean less people to help those who reach out in times of great need.”

One of the ACT’s community sector leaders who responded to the survey said:

“It will see waiting lists increase because capacity is reduced, even though demand outstrips capacity now.”

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, said:

“In Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, people should be able to rely on community services in times of need.

“Without adequate funding, community services can’t keep up with demand and people are not getting the help they desperately need, such as emergency food relief, affordable housing or mental health services.

“In the lead up to International Women’s Day, we’re calling on the Government to commit to continuing to provide to Equal Remuneration Order Supplementation funding, which was established almost a decade ago to provide fair pay in the feminised community service sector,” Dr Goldie said.


The ACT Council of Social Service advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

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.

For more information or comment, please contact

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.

Related documents:

Survey snapshot: Challenges for Australia’s Community Sector: ERO Supplementation: Fair Funding for Fair Pay (PDF)

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