Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation.

Community Services


This page provides high-level information on the Community Services industry.

The Community Services industry is one of the largest industry areas in Australia. Much of it sits within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. The industry can be broken down into a number of sectors:

More information on these sectors, their Industry Reference Committees and Skills Forecasts can be found on their respective sector pages. The relevant Service Skills Organisation for this industry is SkillsIQ.

Nationally recognised training for Community Services is delivered under the CHC - Community Services Training Package and the HLT - Health Training Package.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Industry cluster snapshot

Industry insights

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia. In 2018 there were close to 1.7 million people were employed in this industry, which is projected to increase to over 1.9 million by 2023. Community Services related industry sectors and occupations form one part of the overall Healthcare and Social Assistance industry.

Child Care Services (one of the industry sectors within the broader Healthcare and Social Assistance industry) and Pre-school Education are both industry areas where the employment has increased substantially since 2000 and are projected to increase further up until 2023.

The Community Sector Training Package was the second largest training package (after Business Services) in 2017 in terms of enrolment numbers. There were approximately 335,000 enrolments in 2017, which is about 32,000 fewer enrolments than in 2016.   

The number of program completions fell from about 126,000 in 2014, to 90,000 in 2017.

It is also interesting to note the large number of subject only enrolments (about 48,000 in 2017). In 2017 the units of competency with the largest numbers of subject only enrolments were:

  • Recognise and respond appropriately to domestic and family violence (6,000 enrolments)
  • Provide support to people living with dementia (5,100 enrolments)
  • Identify and respond to children and young people at risk (3,700 enrolments)
  • Support independence and wellbeing (3,000 enrolments).

SkillsIQ is conducting a project to assist understanding of the implications of consumer-directed care reforms across Health and Community Services sectors such as disability, aged care, mental health and primary care. These reforms have implications for skills across the different sectors of the Community Services workforce.

Skills clusters that were ranked of highest priority by industries in South Australia’s Health Care and Social assistance sector were Administration and support, Managerial and leadership, and Sales and customer service. As reported in the Health Care & Social Assistance Sector Profile this is consistent with the move to greater consumer choice in this industry as a result of reforms.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Government bodies


Education Directorate (Australian Capital Territory)

Australian Capital Territory Government Community Services

Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority

Australian Government Department of Human Services

Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business (formerly Department of Employment)

Australian Government Department of Social Services

Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet –Indigenous Affairs Group

Department of Education (Northern Territory)

Department of Education (Tasmania)

Department of Education (Western Australia)

Department of Education and Child Development (South Australia)

Department of Education and Training (Queensland)

Department of Education and Training (Victoria)

Department of Education NSW

New South Wales Government Department of Family and Community Services

Northern Territory Government Territory Families

Queensland Government Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women

Queensland Government Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Tasmanian Government Department of Health and Human Services

Victoria Government Department of Health and Human Services

Western Australia Government Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support



Industry associations and advisory bodies


Aged and Community Services Australia

Allied Health Professions Australia

Australian Childcare Alliance

Australian Childhood Foundation

Australian Community Children's Services (ACCS)

Australian Community Workers Association

Australian Council of Social Service

Australian Counselling Association

Australian Teacher Aide

Australian Tutoring Association (ATA)

Career Industry Council of Australia

Carers Australia

Case Management Society of Australia

Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA)

Community Child Care

Community Early Learning Australia (CELA)

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA)

Council to Homeless Persons

Diversional and Recreational Therapy Australia

Early Childhood Australia (ECA)

Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA)

Environmental Health Australia

Family and Relationship Services Australia

Family Day Care Australia

Financial and Consumer Rights Council

Financial Counselling Australia

Homelessness Australia

Leading Age Services Australia

Mental Health Australia

National Disability Services

National Employment Services Association

National Outside School Hours Services Alliance

Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)

Spiritual Care Australia

Volunteering Australia



Employee associations


Australasian Juvenile Justice Administrators

Australian Education Union (AEU)

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation

Australian Services Union (ASU)

Australian Youth Workers Association

Community and Public Sector Union

Health Services Union

United Voice




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board


Australian Ageing and Quality Authority

Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department

Australian Securities and Investments Commission


Alcohol and other drugs, state and territory peak associations


AADANT - Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies NT

ATDC - Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania Inc.

ATODA - Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT

NADA - Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NSW)

QNADA - Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies

SANDAS - South Australian Network of Drug and Alcohol Services

VAADA - Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association

WANADA – Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies



Relevant research

Community services industry plan: Discussion paper Human Services and Health Partnership Implementation Committee

Health Care & Social Assistance Sector Profile Government of South Australia Training and Skills Commission 2016 

Partnering for the future: advancing Queensland’s community services industry 2017-25 Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Workforce issues in the NSW community services sector Cortis, N & Blaxland, M 2017

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 1 digit industry, Health Care and Social Assistance, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2023
    • 871 Child Care Services
    • 801 Preschool Education

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 1 digit industry, Health Care and Social Assistance, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.
  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, May quarter
    • 871 Child Care Services
    • 801 Preschool Education

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET student and courses, 2017 Program Enrolments by Community Services and Health.

Updated: 11 Sep 2019
To Top