Community Health

Community Health Workers

The Health Workers Union represents many of the hard working people that work within Victoria’s Community Health Centres (CHCs). The Health Workers Union has been working very hard to make sure that the workers within CHCs are paid decent wages and have reasonable working conditions. 

The Health Workers Union is currently engaged in Enterprise Bargaining in relation to the Victorian Stand-Alone Community Health Centre Enterprise Agreement. We will be visiting Community Health Centres in the coming months and encourage all workers to attend our meetings. We also appeal to CHC HWU members to encourage their peers to join our union so that you can all have a say about what you want changed in relation to your professions, position descriptions & work conditions.

Please bear in mind that, collectively, workers in a union have greater negotiating power than they do individually!

CHCs operate across the state and provide a broad range of services and health promotion activities to local communities, particularly those who have or are at risk of the poorest health and have the greatest economic and social needs.

CHSs receive Community Health Program funding from the Department of Health. There are approximately 100 CHSs in Victoria operating from approximately 350 sites. 

Within a typical CHS, you can find General Practitioners and mental health clinicians (either directly employed by the CHS or possess their own provider number and use Medicare to Bulk Bill patients) and privately funded services, and other health and support services, to make up the majority of the primary health sector in Victoria.

The Victorian Government primarily funds the following services through CHS:

  • Dental services
  • Allied health clinicians (including audiology, dietetics, exercise physiology, physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
  • Counsellors
  • Medical and Nursing services (Enrolled and registered) and
  • Health promotion experts.

Some CHS offer other services and supports which can include:

  • Disability services
  • Aged care services
  • Alcohol and drug programs
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Maternal and child health services
  • Outreach services
  • Problem gambling programs
  • Carer respite
  • Mental health programs
  • Support for self-help

Who can access Community health services?

CHSs offer affordable health care, particularly for people on low incomes. Services are available to all local residents, regardless of income, although fees apply (usually $20-$35 per session). These fees are charged for services according to the client’s ability to pay, and can be negotiated or waived if payment is difficult. Health Care Card holders are charged a heavily discounted fee.