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Meeting demand in the shadow of the Delta outbreak: community sector experiences

Demand snapshot, Australian Community Sector Survey
Community sector Community services Australia

This report provides evidence from the Australian Community Sector Survey (ACSS) 2021. The survey was conducted in September 2021 by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney, in collaboration with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the network of Councils of Social Service of Australia (COSS Network).

It is the latest in a series of studies that seeks to give voice to the collective issues and priorities affecting the community sector, and to reflect the rich diversity of experiences and perspectives within community organisations.

Information about participants and the survey method is in Appendix A. Several survey questions were asked in order to examine how community sector organisations were positioned to deal with demand for their services in 2021. These questions captured levels of demand for services in the community; changes in population and community needs, and sectoral capacity to meet these needs.

Key findings:

  • Services are confronting increased poverty and disadvantage in the community
  • Demand for community services has increased in 2021
  • Ability of community services to meet demand fell in 2021
  • Despite these challenges, the sector has strengthened Australia’s recovery
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