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About Our Sector

The Community Sector is made up of a range of community managed and Non-Government organisations who work in social services. This includes aged care, people with disabilities, children’s services, services for women, family and youth services, health services, alcohol and other drug services, mental health services, community based legal services, community based employment and education services, services for people from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds, housing services and services for homeless people, Indigenous organisations and community councils, as well as other peak and resource bodies.

The Community Sector has a critical role to play in both social and economic development in the Northern Territory.

The Community Sector plays a vital role in our communities in creating social wellbeing for all Territorians and in creating safe and healthy communities. The sector provides services that enable people to participate in education, employment, economic development, family and community life. They assist individuals and families who are in crisis situations, and address social and health factors which prevent family breakdown and young people being placed in care. The Community Sector is working towards quality of life for all Territorians.

Profile of the NT Community Sector

  • Employment
    • The Community Sector is a rapidly growing and expanding sector, with more than 195 organisations in the Northern Territory involved in the provision of services to the community. The sector directly employs more than 5,350 people, which equates to 3% of the total workforce. The Community Sector is also a large employer of CDEP positions in the Northern Territory.
  • Volunteer contribution
    • There are approximately 39,300 volunteers in the Northern Territory, of these 14.3% work for the Community/Welfare Sector, which is the third highest for all industry sectors. Collectively, volunteers contribute approx. 6,000,000 hours of service p.a. which equates to an estimated $271 million worth of services and approx. 3,783 full time equivalents p.a. Of these volunteers, it is estimated that $39 million worth of services and 541 full time equivalents are attributable to the Community Sector. The Community Sector also has a strong loyalty, with 26.4% of volunteers having been involved in the sector for more than 10 years.
  • Economic contribution
    • Investing in the Community Sector is not only an issue of health and community wellbeing; it makes good economic sense. For every million dollars spent on Community Services in the not-for-profit sector, 24 people are employed, which is higher than the National Community Sector industry average of 23 people employed for every million dollars spent. The Community Sector in the Northern Territory contributes an estimated $440 million to Industry Gross Value Added, with Other Social Assistance Services alone contributing $162.20 million.
  • Regional development
    • The Community Sector employs over 3,100 people in regional Northern Territory (areas outside of Darwin) which is approx. 4% of the total regional workforce. This  sector is a large employer of Indigenous Australians in regional Northern Territory, employing over 1,900 people.  Collectively more than 11,100 people volunteer and an estimated 2.1 million hours of service p.a outside of metropolitan areas. Of these volunteers, it is estimated that $13.5 million worth of services and 189 full time equivalents are attributable to the Community Sector.
  • Efficient and effective community sector
    • The Community Sector is vital to the future well-being and sustainability of the Northern Territory. Volunteers in the Community Sector contribute an estimated 858,000 hours and more than $39 million worth of services p.a. While average Community Sector wages are only 69% of the Australian average, the sector employs 3% of the entire Northern Territory workforce, and has a large number of CDEP employees in the Northern Territory.
  • Workforce profile
    • The Community Sector is represented by a relatively high proportion of female and Indigenous employment. The Sector is the second largest employer of Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory and the Darwin Community Sector employs the highest percentage of women in any industry in the Northern Territory. The median weekly income of a Community Sector worker is only 69% of the median Northern Territory weekly wage.
  • Recruitment and retention
    • Research suggests that wages are one of the most important factors to retaining staff. The median weekly income of a Community Sector worker is $386 which is only 69% of the median Northern Territory weekly wage. This equates to Community Sector employees receiving $177 less per week. High staff turnover can be costly to organisations, not only through increased expenditure, but also through loss of knowledge and effects on morale. The Community Sector in the Northern Territory has a staff turnover rate of 52%. This is well above the National Community Sector average of 229% and is nearly five times as high as the all industry average of 10-12%.
  • Skill shortages
    • There are several occupations within the Community Sector that face skills shortages, including social and child care workers, and several occupations which face recruitment difficulties, including welfare and disability support workers. Salaries and access to affordable accommodation are frequently reported factors making attracting and recruiting staff more difficult in the Northern Territory Community Sector.

Community Sector Profile Fact Sheets:-

Factsheet 1 – Community Sector Profile,

Factsheet 2 – Efficient and Effective Community Sector,

Factsheet 3 – Community Sector Workforce Profile,                               Community Sector

Factsheet 4 – Community Sector:Developing Regional Communities,

Factsheet 5 – Community Sector:A Major Economic Contributor


Northern Territory Community Sector Workforce Survey 2012

Handy link to NT  Acronyms


National Community Sector Profile Information via handy links:

Australian Community Sector Survey 2013

CSHISC Environmental Scan 2014

DHHS Sector Profile 2013

State of the Not For Profit Sector Survey 2014


Some useful Community Sector Definitions

What is a “charity”?  

A charity is a not-for-profit organisation that gives generously to those in need and is for the benefit of the public.

What is a “not-for-profit” organisation?

A “not-for-profit” is an organisation that does not operate for the profit, personal gain or other benefit of particular people (for example, its members, the people who run it or their friends or relatives). A not-for-profit can make a profit, but any profit made must be used for its charitable purpose(s).

 What is a “community service” organisation?

“Community service” organisations provide the community with services that meet a broad range of needs. The delivery of services aims to promote physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. Non-government services are delivered by commercial and not-for-profit organisations

What is a “social enterprise”?

A social enterprise is led by an economic, social, cultural or environmental mission consistent with public or community benefits. It trades to fulfil its mission, deriving a substantial portion of its income from trade. It reinvests the majority of its profit /surplus in fulfilment of its mission.