Australia's Social Purpose Market: Understanding funding flows and exploring implications

Authored by:

Andrew Young

Status: Completed April 2016

Funding, Research Partners:

This analysis was undertaken by PwC, as part of its partnership with the Centre for Social Impact, to estimate the scale in financial terms of the market involved in delivering services for social purpose. For the purposes of this analysis, 'social purpose' was defined as those services designed to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities across key policy areas: health, welfare (including aged care), education and housing.

Informed by a combinded understanding of past investment, and a scan of current and emerging issues, the analysis aims to stimulate a debate around the question: how can Australia extract maximum value from its investment in the social purpose market, and will the best possible health, social and productivity outcomes be achieved?

The analysis concluded that every year Australia spends more than half a trillion dollars on social purposes, which is almost 32% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The breakdown of contribution to the social purpose market is as follows:

  • $282bn Commonwealth Government
  • $121bn State Government
  • $10bn Local Government
  • $78bn Not-for-Profit sector
  • ~$21bn For Profit sector

The final publication recommends that, on the basis of the analysis, the opportunity exists to consider transformative policy choices nad reform directions that will yield substantial productivity improvements to provide a sustainable level of social support to Australian citizens. It also recommends that any plan needs to consider seven interrelated focus areas:

  • Workforce
  • Data and measurement
  • Innovation
  • Prevention and intervening early
  • Technology
  • System and market design
  • Place-based reform
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