Our Union

Updated 22/06/2023

CPSU, the Community and Public Sector Union, is a product of the amalgamation of the State Public Services Federation, the largest union covering state government employees in Australia, and the Public Sector Union, the former union for federal government employees.

CPSU is a registered organisation under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. Our rules and activities are subject to that legislation.

The union is divided into two groups:

  • The SPSF (State Public Services Federation) Group
  • The PSU (Public Sector Union) Group

The two groups still operate as separate organisations, each having its own office bearers, office facilities and employees, and offering separate services to the respective memberships.

The SPSF Group is divided into State Branches. Each Branch has wide representation rights in relation to state government employees. The union has some coverage in the private sector, and in some states, workers also in the Higher Education and Health sectors.


Victorian Trades Hall Council

The VTHC is the peak body of the trade union movement in Victoria and is the Victorian branch of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). The majority of unions in Victoria including the CPSU/SPSF are affiliates of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, which is able to collectively represent the interests of our members and other Victorian union members to State and Federal Governments and the ACTU.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions

The ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions) is the peak Trade Union organisation in Australia and was established in 1927. It has the task of achieving the organisation of workers, consolidation of the Australian Labour Movement and the central control of disputes.

The majority of Australian unions are affiliated to the ACTU, which represents a combined membership of nearly 2 million workers.

The ACTU acts as a national coordinator of union activities. Its policies are determined at its Conference held every two years and attended by delegates from State Branches, provincial Trades and Labour Councils and affiliated unions.

CPSU's Governing Bodies

Federal Council

The Federal Council is the supreme governing body of the CPSU/SPSF Group. It is made up of the Federal Officers and Federal Councillors from each State Branch.

The Victorian Branch is entitled to five Federal Council representatives, who are elected by and from the Victorian Branch Council.

Federal Officers

The Federal Officers are the Federal President, five Vice-Presidents, and the Federal Secretary. The Federal Officers make up the Federal Executive.

Branch Officers

The Victorian Branch Officers are the Branch President, two Vice Presidents, Branch Secretary, and Assistant Secretary. Branch Officers are elected by the entire Branch membership every four years.

Branch Council

The Victorian Branch Council is made up of the Branch Officers and Branch Councillors elected for a four year term from each of the nine Branch Electorates.

The number of Branch Councillors from each electorate will vary according to the size of the electorate.

The Branch Council is subject to the lawful direction of the Federal Council and Federal Executive and manages the business and affairs of the Victorian Branch.

Branch Executive

The Victorian Branch Executive is made up of the Branch Officers and between meetings of Branch Council is responsible for the management of the Branch.

Standing Committees

The Branch Council may establish Standing Committees on any basis where a need is identified to provide a forum for special interest groups within the membership.

Union Issues

Employment Conditions

Since 1996 terms and conditions of employment for members in Victoria have been subject to the federal industrial relations system.

Victoria remains the only state that has transferred its industrial powers for regulation of the public sector to the Commonwealth jurisdiction. This means that enterprise agreements and modern awards under the Fair Work Act 2009 apply.

Enterprise Agreements

CPSU has over 50 enterprise agreements applying to the Victorian public sector. The union also has a number of private sector agreements particularly in the corrections industry. Public sector and other employers which are not part of the VPS have their own agreements.

Agreements generally apply for a four year term.

By far the largest agreement applies to the departments and agencies that comprise the VPS (Victorian public service). A new VPS Agreement was signed with the Labor Government in 2020. The new agreement covers over 50 entities that comprise the VPS, and 50,000 employees.

The new entitlements under the Agreement include the new 20% night shift rate, higher overtime calculation amount, parental leave enhancements, and the 1.25% equivalent mobility payment.

Modern Awards

Modern awards provide a safety net to underpin bargaining. CPSU does not rely on the award system to regulate actual terms and conditions of employment. Once an agreement is made the award no longer sets actual terms and conditions of employment.

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