The structure and dimensions of Australia's community services industry

Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management (CACOM)
Publication Type:
Working Paper
Lyons, M. 1993, The structure and dimensions of Australia's community service industry, CACOM Working Paper, No. 16, Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management, University of Technology, Sydney.
Issue Date:
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The community services industry is an emergent industry. As a consequence there is no widely agreed definition and limited data. This paper attempts to offer a mainly quantitative description of the community services industry in Australia. It is based largely on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but relies on a number of assumptions which makes its estimates rough guides only. It finds that the community services industry employs about 191,000 people, mostly part-time and mostly women. Approximately half of these employees work for private not-for-profit organisations whilst the other half are equally divided between for-profit and government providers. Volunteers infrequently augment the not-for-profit workforce. Most of the revenue that finances community services comes from third parties, from governments and private donations. Two methods are used to derive estimates for revenue and expenditure in the community services industry. The produce significantly different estimates between 5 and 6.8 billion dollars. The former is more reliable. Government regulation of the u=industry varies from close in the case of aged services to almost non-existent in the case of taxation concessions. There is limited competition in the industry, more of it for third-party revenue than for clients or customers.
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