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Community and Public Sector Union
(PSU & SPSF Groups)
Founded 1 July 1994
Members 160,000
Country Australia
Affiliation ACTU
Key people Stephen Jones (PSU) and David Carey (SPSF), Joint National Secretaries
Office location Haymarket, New South Wales

The Community and Public Sector Union (more commonly known as the CPSU) is a national trade union in Australia.


History of The CPSU

The CPSU came into existence on 1 July 1994 as a result of the amalgamation of the Public Sector, Professional, Scientific, Research, Technical, Communication, Aviation and Broadcasting Union ("PSU") with the State Public Services Federation ( "SPSF" ). For administrative purposes the CPSU now operates through two groups ; the SPSF Group and the PSU Group. The SPSF Group generally represents State Public Sector employees and University general staff and the PSU Group the Commonwealth employees. These groups reflect the pre-existing eligibility and industrial coverage of the amalgamating organisations.

The CPSU is one of the largest trade unions in Australia. The PSU group has approximately 60 000 members. The State Public Service Federation (SPSF) Group, has over 100 000 members, for a combined total of 160 000 members across the country.


The SPSF was first registered as a Federal union on 30 July 1976. Initially, the SPSF covered a limited range of State public sector employees because of Constitutional limitations; it was unclear until the 1980s how widely the SPSF was able to operate, particularly as a party to industrial disputes. Starting with the decision of the High Court in the CYSS case, it appeared that these constraints were eroding. In 1984 the SPSF successfully changed its rules in order that its eligibility paralleled that of the State registered unions that made up the SPSF. These State unions are called "Associated Bodies".

The Associated Bodies have a very long history, extending in most cases from the 19th century. For instance, the NSW Branch is the Public Service Association of NSW. It celebrated 100 years of existence as a public sector union in NSW, in 1999.

With the exception of University employees and members in Victoria, the SPSF Group consists of each relevant State Public Sector Union who is registered in the State Industrial body. EG, PSA of NSW members are NSW State Public Sector Employees registered under the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.


CPSU The General Staff Union

The CPSU SPSF Group uses the branding of "The General Staff Union" due to its representation of only General Staff throughout higher education. Along with the State Associated Bodies representing administrative and support staff through state-based schools, TAFEs and universities, nationwide the CPSU is the largest union representing education employees.

In 2008, the CPSU launched their new website


The PSU Group represents Commonwealth or Federal Public Service Employees as well as Territory public service (ACT and NT). This generally reflects the industrial coverage as well as employer.

CPSU members at a protest rally in Sydney, in 2005

External links

Peak CPSU Bodies

State Branches of CPSU-SPSF


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